Medical Definition of Gingko biloba

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Gingko biloba: An herb that is very popular as a treatment for dementia (a progressive brain dysfunction) and to improve thinking. Research demonstrates some support for the use of gingko for the following conditions: dementia and Alzheimer's disease, intermittent claudication, glaucoma, memory enhancement, macular degeneration, tinnitus, and Raynaud's phenomenon.

Gingko can cause mild stomach upset and headache and does interact with other non-prescription and prescription medications.

Gingko seems also to have blood thinning properties. Therefore, it is not recommended to be taken with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen/Advil, Motrin or naproxen/Aleve), or medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin/Coumadin. Gingko should be avoided in patients with epilepsy taking seizure medicines, such as phenytoin /Dilantin, carbamazepine/Tegretol, and phenobarbital. Also, antidepressants, medications for hypertension, medications to lower blood sugar, cyclosporine, and thiazide diuretics.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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