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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: ginkgo (Pronunciation: GING koe)

What is ginkgo ()?

The use of ginkgo in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Ginkgo is also known as Ginkgo biloba, maidenhair tree, kew tree, fossil tree, ginkyo, and yinhsing.

Ginkgo has been used to improve blood flow to the brain. This may help to improve memory, concentration, and mood; and help to reduce anxiety and stress, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and headache. Ginkgo has also been used to increase circulation to the limbs and in the treatment of asthma.

Ginkgo has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of ginkgo may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Ginkgo may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What are the possible side effects of ginkgo ()?

Although uncommon, serious side effects have been reported with the use of ginkgo. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking ginkgo and seek emergency medical attention or notify your doctor immediately:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • irregular heartbeats;
  • muscle spasms or cramps;
  • seizures; or
  • loss of consciousness.

Other less serious side effects have also been reported to occur. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience

  • headache;
  • dizziness; or
  • stomach upset.

Do not use ginkgo seeds or fruit pulp. These have been shown to be toxic. Also, do not handle the ginkgo fruit pulp. A severe reaction including skin redness, swelling, blistering, and itching lasting for 7 to 10 days has been reported.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about ginkgo ()?

Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; if you are taking a medicine to prevent blood clots; or if you are taking other medications, herbs, antioxidants, or health supplements (these may also affect blood clotting). Ginkgo may affect the time it takes for the blood to clot.

Ginkgo has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of ginkgo may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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