Natural Health Products
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The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten.
How is this product usually used?
Extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Occasionally, ginkgo extracts are used in skin products.
The dosing for standardized extracts of ginkgo leaf containing 22% to 27% flavonoid glycosides and 5% to 7% terpene lactones is 80 mg to 240 mg per day (equivalent to 4 g to 12 g of dried leaves).
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Ginkgo leaf extract is used to help improve thinking and memory, as well as to help peripheral circulation. It may also be used for other conditions such as anxiety, dementia, and recovery from stroke.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
There is some evidence to support ginkgo’s use in improving memory for people with dementia. It may also help with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, or stroke. It may also be effective in improving hearing loss when used with steroid medications, reducing menstrual symptoms, and improving vertigo. There is limited evidence to support gingko’s efficacy in treating other health conditions.
Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. In rare cases, people taking ginkgo may develop irregular heart rhythms, increased bleeds, and a serious skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
There may be an interaction with ginkgo leaf extract and any of the following:
- anticonvulsants (e.g., gabapentin, phenytoin)
- anticoagulants/antiplatelet drugs (e.g., aspirin, clopidogrel, low molecular weight heparin)
- certain drugs metabolized by the liver (e.g., acetaminophen, diazepam, omeprazole, ibuprofen, codeine, clarithromycin)
- diabetes medications (e.g., metformin, sitagliptin)
- seizure threshold lowering drugs (e.g., bupropion, penicillin)
Consult your health care provider if you’re taking ginkgo for more than 4 weeks.
If you are taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, or seizures, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, talk to your health care provider before using ginkgo leaf extracts to make sure the product is safe for you. Couples attempting to conceive should also consult their health care provider before starting on ginkgo leaf extract.
As ginkgo may increase your risk of bleeding, stop taking it at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Ginkgo. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ginkgo/
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