According to the Mayo Clinic, Ginko biloba has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions. Today, it is so commonly used that it is considered to be one of the top selling herbs in the U.S.
Many of the conditions that Ginko biloba is used to treat are being investigated by scientists to determine the herbs effectiveness in treating different conditions. Currently, there is promising evidence that Ginko biloba does help in the treatment and management in things such as leg pain, Alzheimer’s, and a condition known as cerebral insufficiency. Cerebral insufficiency, according to the Mayo Clinic is “thought to be secondary to atherosclerotic diseases, characterized by impaired concentration, confusion, decreased physical performance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, depression, and anxiety”. There is also promising evidence that Ginko biloba enhances the memory in healthy people, help fir altitude sickness, helps to lessen the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and reduces the chances of chemotherapy induced end organ vascular damage. There is controversial evidence against the use of Ginko biloba for tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
Ginko biloba is, in general, a well tolerated herb for most people. Some people do experience bleeding, and because of this, Ginko biloba should be used with caution, especially in people who are on blood thinners, and those who are facing surgery or dental procedures. You should always read the label before taking Ginko biloba to find out how much of the herb is in the supplement, and to find out what the possible side effects are. You should not begin taking Ginko biloba without talking to your doctor first because it may not be safe for you to take. When taking Ginko biloba, you should know the possible side effects and report any that you experience to your doctor right away. Ginko biloba is not recommended fro children because there is not enough evidence that it will benefit children.
Although taking Ginko biloba can be beneficial to an adult’s health, there are, as with any herb or medication, potential side effects that can be serious. Particularly, with Ginko biloba, you should never eat the seed because doing so can be deadly. Eating the seeds can cause loss of consciousness and seizures. Ginko biloba can affect insulin and blood sugar level in the body, so if you are diabetic, you need to talk to your doctor before taking it.
Other side effects from taking Ginko biloba are dizziness, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness in the muscles, loss of muscle tone, restlessness, fast heart rate, rash, and irritation around the mouth. In elderly Alzheimer’s patients, Ginko biloba has been known to cause a coma, but the Ginko biloba was taken along with another medication called trazodone. According to the Mayo Clinic, Ginko biloba can not be pin-pointed as the cause of the coma because it was being taken with another medication.
Ginko biloba is believed by researchers to decrease blood pressure, but there is one report of it having the opposite effect when a person is also talking a water pill. Ginko biloba may affect the outcome of a treatment called electroconvulsive therapy, and it may also negatively affect the eyes. You should not use Ginko biloba if you are pregnant or breastfeeding do to the increased risk of bleeding.
Ginko biloba does seem to have its benefits, but also its downfalls. If you are taking Ginko biloba, or considering taking Ginko biloba, you really should talk to your doctor first. Weigh the good and the bad carefully before making a decision.