Other Names: Ginkgo biloba

Composition: Extracts from ginkgo leaves have flavonols, terpenes, and glycosides.

Description and History: The ginkgo tree is native to China and has been used medicinally since 2800 BC. Its fruit/seeds are also consumed in many traditional dishes.

Cross-Reference List: Headache

Headache: For symptomatic relief, ginkgo has been evaluated in a 60mg dose, as-needed. Results indicated that it reduced total duration of the headache by 1/3 as compared to a control group.

ADHD: Anyone connected with ADHD knows that the demand for non-pharmaceutical solutions and supportive therapies is high. Ginkgo may be a reasonable option. Compared with Ritalin at 20-30mg/day plus nothing else or plus ginkgo at 80-120 mg/day for 6 weeks, ginkgo made a significant difference for teen volunteers.  A greater symptom reduction took place in the ginkgo group on both teacher-reported measures and objective measures evaluating focus and attention. (Shakibaei et al, 2015)

Metabolic Syndrome: A specific collection of risk factors makes heart disease and type 2 diabetes much more likely, and we call this metabolic syndrome. A recent approach to combating these factors is through anti-inflammatory avenues. Over a 2 month intervention trial, ginkgo supplementation resulted in the significant reduction of inflammatory and oxidative stress as compared to the control group, as well as a reduction in nano plaque formation. (Siegel et al, 2014)

Stroke: After a stroke, the brain is particularly vulnerable and significant damage can occur. In 2013, a total of 102 patients who had experienced acute ischemic stroke volunteered, and 52 received ginkgo while the rest were given a control. The follow-up 4 months later showed the ginkgo group with favorable evaluation scores. (Oskouei et al 2013) Ginkgo supplementation can be considered as part of a post-stroke protective protocol. 

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None known.

Preparations: Ginkgo is administered orally through a wide range of preparations. The most common type of preparation is a capsule, tablet, or tincture, but it can be used to produce a cognitive enhancing syrup, truffle, or other preparation if desired. 

Dose: The total daily dose for an otherwise healthy adult is 240mg per day, which can be divided by weight and age into a child’s dose using the dosing guidance provided in the pediatric module. There is no topical dose as the herb is typically consumed internally for cognitive functioning. 

Dig Deeper

Oskouei, D. S., Rikhtegar, R., Hashemilar, M., Sadeghi-Bazargani, H., Sharifi-Bonab, M., Sadeghi-Hokmabadi, E., ... & Sharifipour, E. (2013). The effect of Ginkgo biloba on functional outcome of patients with acute ischemic stroke: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 22(8), e557-e563.

Shakibaei, F., Radmanesh, M., Salari, E., & Mahaki, B. (2015). Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 21(2), 61-67.

Siegel, G., Ermilov, E., Knes, O., & Rodríguez, M. (2014). Combined lowering of low grade systemic inflammation and insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome patients treated with Ginkgo biloba.Atherosclerosis, 237(2), 584-588.

Meet Dr Hawkins

Dr. Hawkins brings 20 years of expertise in the integrative health field to her role as Executive Director of the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences and the leader of our clinical research team.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Health from Union Institute and University, a Master’s Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Alabama, a post-graduate certificate in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a PhD in Health Research from Middle Tennessee State University, and is completing the post-doctoral Global Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. She also holds certifications in numerous natural health fields including aromatherapy, aromatic medicine, herbalism, childbirth education, and labor support.