Information about Ginkgo
Ginkgo is a popular herbal medication and extract derived from the leaves and seeds of the tree Ginkgo biloba. Common Names: ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba, fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, yinhsing
Latin Names: Ginkgo biloba
- Ginkgo, one of the oldest living tree species in the world, has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. Members of the royal court were given ginkgo nuts for senility. Other historical uses for ginkgo were for asthma, bronchitis, and kidney and bladder disorders.
- Today, the extract from ginkgo leaves is used as a dietary supplement for many conditions, including dementia, eye problems, intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries), tinnitus, and other health problems.
- Ginkgo is made into tablets, capsules, extracts, tea, and cosmetics.
- There’s no conclusive evidence that ginkgo is helpful for any health condition.
- Ginkgo doesn’t help prevent or slow dementia or cognitive decline, according to studies, including the long-term Ginkgo Evaluation Memory Study, which enrolled more than 3,000 older adults and was funded in part by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
- There’s no strong evidence that ginkgo helps with memory enhancement in healthy people, blood pressure, intermittent claudication, tinnitus, age-related macular degeneration, the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, or with other conditions.
- Ongoing NCCIH-funded research is looking at whether a compound in ginkgo may help with diabetes.
Liver safety of Ginkgo
- Ginkgo has not been implicated in causing liver injury.
- For many healthy adults, ginkgo appears to be safe when taken by mouth in moderate amounts.
- Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, stomach upset, and allergic skin reactions. If you’re older, have a known bleeding risk, or are pregnant you should be cautious about ginkgo possibly increasing your risk of bleeding.
- In a 2013 research study, rodents given ginkgo had an increased risk of developing liver and thyroid cancer at the end of the 2-year tests.
- Ginkgo may interact with some conventional medications, including anticoagulants (blood thinners), research reviews show.
- Eating fresh (raw) or roasted ginkgo seeds can be poisonous and have serious side effects.
Mechanism of action of Ginkgo
Ginkgo (ging' koe) is a widely used herbal derived from the leaves and seeds of the Ginkgo biloba tree, a “living fossil”, being the only extant species of what was a large order of plants (Ginkgoales) more than 200 million years ago. Ginkgo is native to central China, but has been introduced worldwide. The word ginkgo derives from a Japanese approximation of the Chinese word for “silver apricot” referring to the tree’s fruit. Extracts from ginkgo leaves and seeds were used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for a multitude of illnesses and conditions. Ginkgo extracts contain multiple compounds, but ginkgolides and bilobalide are unique to this herb. Ginkgo extracts have been shown to have antioxidant, antiinflammatory and antihistaminic activity. Current uses are many and include dementia, memory loss, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, hearing problems, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, peripheral vascular disease, asthma, and bronchitis. Ginkgo is purported to increase mental acuity and delay the effects of aging on the brain, as well as improve peripheral circulation, prevent macular degeneration and decrease symptoms of claudication and Raynaud’s syndrome. Ginkgo leaf extract is also used in foods, cosmetics, and skin lotions. The scientific bases for the purported effects of ginkgo are not well established and clinical trials have shown no or only modest clinical effects in dementia, claudication and tinnitus.
Dosage and administration for Ginkgo
Ginkgo is available in a variety of formulations (tablets, capsules, powder, teas, and lotions) and the typical oral dosage is 120 to 240 mg per day in 2 to 3 divided doses.
Side effects of Ginkgo
Side effects of ginkgo are uncommon and mild, and include gastrointestinal upset, nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, increased bleeding tendency and rash. In clinical trials, both serious and common side effects have been no more frequent with ginkgo than placebo.
- Aloe Vera, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Bilberry, Black Cohosh, Butterbur, Cat's Claw, Cascara, Chaparral, Comfrey, Crofelemer, Echinacea, Ephedra, Fenugreek, Flavocoxid, Garcinia cambogia, Germander, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Greater Celandine, Green Tea, Hoodia, Hops, Horse Chestnut, Hyssop, Kava Kava, Kratom, Lavender, Maca, Margosa Oil, Melatonin, Milk Thistle, Noni, Passionflower, Pennyroyal Oil, Red Yeast Rice, Resveratrol, Saw Palmetto, Senna, Skullcap, Spirulina, St. John's Wort, Turmeric, Usnic Acid, Valerian, Yohimbine
Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines
- Ba Jiao Lian, Bol Gol Zhee, Chi R Yun, Jin Bu Huan, Ma Huang, Sho Saiko To and Dai Saiko To, Shou Wu Pian
Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements
See also Nutritional supplements