Experts have traced the ginkgo biloba tree back to more than 300 million years ago. It has a long history of being used in Chinese herbal medicine. It was thought to help with many long-term health problems and lessen symptoms of sudden sickness. Today, western medicine has begun to explore many of the traditional uses of ginkgo. Research is still not clear if taking ginkgo can prevent or aid in the treatment of any illness. There are some studies that show it might be helpful with feelings of sadness and worry. Ginkgo may also improve blood flow which could lessen pain in the legs due to poor circulation. It may also help with thinking problems, issues linked to memory loss like Alzheimer's and dementia, and some eye conditions but more research is still needed. There is not enough proof yet for its use in lessening ringing in the ears, altitude sickness, and problems with sex. More studies are still needed.
The Safe Use of Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo supplements like the ones sold at Walgreens are generally safe for those in good health. Herbal supplements are pills, liquids, or powders from substances found in plants. Ginkgo supplements are mostly made from the dried green leaves of the ginkgo tree. The raw seeds and fruit from the ginkgo biloba plant should not be used. This is because they can cause harsh reactions. Studies have found that ginkgo may thin out the blood. People with blood clotting issues should not take ginkgo. Some people might be allergic to ginkgo. You are more likely to have a reaction if you are allergic to mango rind, cashew shell oil or poison ivy, oak or sumac. Ginkgo supplements may not be right for all people. Those with health issues like high blood sugar or seizures should probably not take them. Before taking a ginkgo supplement, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will let you know if ginkgo is unsafe to take based on your health condition. He or she can also think about possible interactions of ginkgo with any prescription drugs, supplements or over the counter medicines that you are also taking.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.