What It Is Used For
Tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears)
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia
Patient Should Not Use it if
Taking blood thinning drugs
Diagnosed with bleeding disorders
Scheduled for surgery
Side Effects and Cautions
Allergic skin reactions
Increase bleeding risk
What the Science Says
Some promising results have been seen for Alzheimer’s disease/dementia and intermittent claudication, among others, but larger, well-designed research studies are needed.
Some smaller studies for memory enhancement have had promising results, but a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over age 60 found that ginkgo taken for 6 weeks did not improve memory.
NCCAM is conducting a large clinical trial of ginkgo with more than 3,000 volunteers. The aim is to see if the herb prevents the onset of dementia and, specifically, Alzheimer’s disease; slows cognitive decline and functional disability (for example, inability to prepare meals); reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease; and decreases the rate of premature death.
Other NCCAM-funded research includes studies on ginkgo for asthma, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, vascular function (intermittent claudication), cognitive decline, sexual dysfunction due to antidepressants, and insulin resistance. NCCAM is also looking at potential interactions between ginkgo and prescription drugs.