ALERT

Due to the overwhelming surge in COVID-19 cases and the strain it has placed on health care capacity in the communities we serve, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has activated crisis standards of care statewide. We are open and available to see patients, but you may experience delays at our ERs, hospitals, and clinics. We appreciate your patience. Access more info on COVID testing, vaccination, visitor policy, hospitalization data, and FAQs.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba

Treatment Overview

Ginkgo extract, from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It also is the most commonly used herbal medicine in Europe. Although the benefits of ginkgo are not entirely understood, it is known that ginkgo has properties that may help some conditions.

Why It Is Used

Some people use ginkgo to help with:

  • Blood flow disorders (circulatory disorders), such as thrombophlebitis, Raynaud's phenomenon, and peripheral arterial disease.
  • Asthma and allergies.
  • Mental decline ( dementia).
  • Memory and concentration problems, anxiety, stress, and mood problems.

More evidence is needed to find out if and how well it helps manage or prevent these health problems.

Risks

Ginkgo appears to be safe and has few side effects. Direct contact with the pulp of the ginkgo tree may cause a skin reaction similar to poison ivy, but this is not a problem with ginkgo that is taken by mouth (oral supplements). Experts don't know whether ginkgo is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so these women should consult a doctor before taking ginkgo.

Bleeding problems are the only major complication that has been linked to use of ginkgo, and the risk seems to be very low. Ginkgo is not recommended for people who are taking medicines that thin the blood (anticoagulants), such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or NSAIDs. This is because ginkgo may reduce the blood's ability to clot. The combined effect of ginkgo and these medicines may be harmful.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works or on its safety.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:

  • Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse.
  • The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known.

Credits

Current as of: March 17, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Healthwise is a URAC accredited health web site content provider. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.