Ginkgo biloba is often used to treat memory disorders and conditions, especially in old age, that are associated with the reduction of blood flow to the brain (such as headache, dizziness, tinnitus, impaired concentration and disorders' mood). It is also used to treat other problems associated with circulation disorders such as pain in the legs while walking (claudication) and Raynaud's syndrome. Lastly, the extract of Ginkgo leaves is used in case of cognitive problems associated with the Lyme disease or depression, sexual dysfunction, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.


Scientific evidence accumulated to date suggest that the extract of Ginkgo could be really effective in case of anxiety, decreased mental performance, dementia, vision problems associated with diabetes, glaucoma, leg pain while walking, PMS symptoms, schizophrenia, dyskinesia, vertigo and dizziness. In other cases relating to its effectiveness, proposed uses argue in favor of futility of treatment or they are not sufficient enough to draw any meaningful conclusions.


What is Ginkgo Biloba?

The extract of Ginkgo biloba leaves seems to have a positive effect on the movement of the body. Its intake appears to promote good functioning of the brain, eyes, ears and the circulation in the legs. It also seems to help counteract any brain changes that may lead to typical memory problems of Alzheimer's.

Though less studied, the seed extract contains substances that may help kill bacteria and pathogenic fungi.


How should Ginkgo Biloba be taken?

Ginkgo biloba can be taken orally in the form of leaves extract or less often, from seed extract. The dosage and duration of administration depends on the problem that requires treatment and may vary from patient to patient.


Side effects associated with Ginkgo Biloba

If administered following the recommended doses, Gingko biloba is considered safe and may only trigger mild side effects such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Stronger heartbeat
  • Allergic skin reactions


For children, it is considered a safe remedy when it is taken for short periods of time. In adult women, it may instead interfere with conception.

It is important to be cautious with the seeds extract because they contain a toxin that can trigger side effects such as seizures and loss of consciousness.


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Ginkgo Biloba

Gingko biloba is to be taken only in the form of extracts because whole parts of the plant may contain dangerous levels of toxic substances that can trigger severe allergic reactions.




Before taking Gingko biloba, it is important to inform your doctor:  

  • If you have any allergies (including allergies to medication)
  • If you are taking any medicinal products, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: efavirenz, talinolol, alprazolam, busipirone, fluoxetine and other antidepressants, ibuprofen, substrates of cytochrome P450, antidiabetics, anticonvulsants, warfarin and anticoagulants, trazodone, hydrochlorothiazide, nifedipine, omeprazole, butanediol, cedar leaves, folic acid, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, EDTA, gamma-butyrolactone, glutamine, Huperzine a, hydrazine sulfate, L-carnitine, melatonin, rosemary, sage, wormwood, hyssop, angelica, clove, garlic, ginger, ginseng and St. John's wort
  • If you suffer (or have suffered) from diabetes, seizures, or bleeding problems
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding  (intake is contraindicated in these cases)


It is also important to inform surgeons and dentists of any ongoing treatment with Ginkgo biloba, as it can interfere with clotting and cause severe bleeding. In such cases, intake should be discontinued at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.