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Health benefits Ginkgo:Health benefits /Interactions/Safety and side effects



Ginkgo trees are one of the oldest living plant species. Most products made from ginkgo leaves are extracted from its fan-shaped leaves.

Some of the helpful components of ginkgo are believed to be flavonoids and terpenoids, both of which have powerful antioxidant properties and help improve circulation by widening blood vessels and reducing the clumping of platelets.

Ginkgo is available as an oral tablet extract or tea. Do not eat raw or roasted ginkgo seeds, as they can be poisonous.

Most research on ginkgo is focused on its effects on dementia and pain caused by a lack of blood flow.



Some research on the use of ginkgo for specific conditions shows:

  • Dementia.There is not enough evidence to support the use of ginkgo to prevent dementia or treat people with mild cognitive impairment.
  • Claudication.The research does not suggest that taking ginkgo has any benefits for people with this condition.

Some studies have shown that ginkgo extract might modestly improve memory in healthy adults, while other studies suggest that it doesn't have an effect on memory or attention.

Our take


There is some research that suggests that ginkgo may help to prevent or slow cognitive decline, but more research is needed to know for sure. It is also unknown how ginkgo might support brain function and treat other conditions.

Safety and side effects

There is no evidence to suggest that ginkgo is harmful when taken orally in moderate amounts.

Ginkgo can cause:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Allergic skin reactions

Some ginkgo seeds can be poisonous when eaten raw or roasted.

If you are epileptic or have a tendency to seizures, avoid eating ginkgo. Ginkgotoxin is found in ginkgo seeds and leaves, so consuming large amounts of either can lead to seizures.

If you are older, have a bleeding disorder, or are pregnant, you should not take ginkgo. The supplement might increase your risk of bleeding. If you are going to have surgery, stop taking it two weeks beforehand.

If you are taking ginkgo and have diabetes, be very careful with your blood sugar levels.

Some research shows that rodents given ginkgo may have an increased risk of developing liver and thyroid cancers.


Possible interactions include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax).Taking ginkgo with this medication might reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Herbs and supplements that contain anticoagulants or anti-platelet drugs can help prevent blood clotting.Taking these types of drugs together may reduce blood clotting. However, taking ginkgo with them increases the risk of bleeding.
  • Some anticonvulsants and seizure threshold-lowering drugs can be obtained from herbs and supplements.Ginkgotoxin is found in ginkgo seeds and leaves. Taking large amounts of ginkgo could lead to seizures. It's possible that using ginkgo could reduce the effectiveness of an anticonvulsant drug.
  • Antidepressants.Co-administration of ginkgo with certain antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac Sarafem) and imipramine (Tofranil) might decrease their effectiveness.
  • Certain statins.It is possible that taking ginkgo with simvastatin (Zocor) will lessen the drug's effects. Ginkgo may also reduce the effects of atorvastatin (Lipitor).
  • Diabetes drugs.Ginkgo might affect how you respond to these drugs.
  • Ibuprofen.Combining ginkgo with ibuprofen (Advil Motrin IB others) might increase your risk of bleeding.
Health benefits Ginkgo:Health benefits /Interactions/Safety and side effects

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