Last update: June 11, 2024

7 minute read

What is Ginkgo Biloba?

Discover the health benefits of Ginkgo Biloba, famous for its special mix of flavonoids and terpenoids. Find out how to use this old remedy every day to possibly boost brain function and overall health.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Jacquie Leone, NMD, HN

Learn more about our editorial standards

Imagine a tree that has survived for millions of years, bearing leaves that could hold the key to enhancing your well-being. One name consistently resonates in the quest for health and longevity: Ginkgo Biloba.

Key takeaways

  • Ginkgo Biloba has been used for centuries for its potential health benefits, particularly in brain health and circulation
  • Personalized supplement packs can help address individual nutritional needs effectively
  • Consulting a healthcare professional is always recommended before starting any new supplement regime

    What is Ginkgo Biloba?

    So, what is Ginkgo Biloba? It's the oldest living tree species! It’s unique fan-shaped leaves are used to make extracts and other products.

    What makes Ginkgo Biloba unique?

    If you're curious about what makes this tree stand out, it's worth delving into the richness of its composition. The Ginkgo Biloba tree, ancient as it is, carries in its leaves a powerful combination of flavonoids and terpenoids. These compounds are believed to be major contributors to the health benefits associated with Ginkgo Biloba.

    Flavonoids are known for their potent antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants play a significant role in the body, helping to protect your cells against damage from free radicals. This property could potentially help slow down aging-related diseases and boost overall health.

    Terpenoids, on the other hand, have a role in improving circulation. They work by dilating blood vessels and reducing the "stickiness" of platelets. Better blood circulation means more oxygen and nutrients reach vital organs, including the brain, which may lead to potential improvements in cognitive function.

    Can you get these compounds elsewhere?

    While it's true that flavonoids and terpenoids are found in other foods and herbs, what sets Ginkgo Biloba apart is its unique combination of these compounds. This mix can't easily be replicated by consuming other sources alone, making Ginkgo Biloba supplements a valuable addition to your diet.

    How can you consume Ginkgo Biloba?

    There are multiple ways to consume Ginkgo Biloba. Most commonly, it's available as an oral tablet, extract, capsule, or tea.

    However, it's essential to be mindful of how you consume this potent herb. Raw or roasted ginkgo seeds can be poisonous and should be avoided.

    The recommended consumption route is through standardized Ginkgo Biloba extracts (GBE), typically found in tablets or capsules. This ensures that you're receiving a safe and effective dose of the beneficial components.

    VitaRx Tip

    It's always a good idea to follow the manufacturer's instructions or a healthcare provider's advice when taking Ginkgo Biloba.

    How can you add Ginkgo Biloba to your daily routine?

    Adding Ginkgo Biloba to your routine is as simple as taking a capsule with your morning meal or enjoying a cup of Ginkgo Biloba tea in the afternoon. It's important to note that the effects of Ginkgo Biloba don't usually kick in immediately and can take a few weeks to be noticeable. Consistency is key!

    What's the verdict on the safety and side effects of Ginkgo Biloba?

    While Ginkgo Biloba appears to be safe in moderate amounts for most healthy adults, there are a few potential side effects to keep in mind. Some people may experience headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, upset stomach, constipation, and allergic skin reactions. Remember, raw or roasted Ginkgo Biloba seeds can be poisonous, so stick to consuming approved Ginkgo Biloba products.

    What are some important precautions when taking Ginkgo Biloba?

    There are certain situations when Ginkgo Biloba should be used with caution:

    • If you're epileptic or prone to seizures, it's better to avoid Ginkgo Biloba, as it could potentially trigger seizures.
    • If you're older, have a bleeding disorder, or are pregnant, Ginkgo Biloba might increase your risk of bleeding.

    Ginkgo Biloba might interfere with the management of diabetes, so if you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely if you're taking this supplement.

    Dos and don'ts of taking Ginkgo Biloba

    Knowing how to use Ginkgo biloba supplements correctly is important for getting the most out of them and staying safe. Check out what to do and what not to do with Ginkgo Biloba, so you can use it safely and get the best results.


    • icon

      Do consult a healthcare provider before starting Ginkgo Biloba.

    • icon

      Do follow the recommended dosage instructions.

    • icon

      Do monitor your health while taking the supplement.


    • icon

      Don't consume raw or roasted Ginkgo Biloba seeds.

    • icon

      Don't take Ginkgo Biloba if you're epileptic, prone to seizures, or pregnant.

    • icon

      Don't expect immediate results.

    What are the possible interactions of Ginkgo Biloba with other drugs?

    A crucial factor to consider before starting any supplement is its potential interactions with other drugs you're taking. Like a climactic crossover episode between your favorite TV shows, it might sound exciting but may lead to unexpected consequences. Let's explore what interactions might occur with Ginkgo Biloba.

    Could Ginkgo Biloba affect the effectiveness of your anxiety medication?

    Ginkgo Biloba might interact with anxiety drugs like Alprazolam (Xanax), potentially reducing their effectiveness. If you're on anxiety medication and considering Ginkgo Biloba, it's best to consult your healthcare provider first.

    What happens when Ginkgo Biloba is taken with blood thinners?

    Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, herbs, and supplements reduce blood clotting. Taking Ginkgo Biloba with them might increase your risk of bleeding. Taking two substances that both thin your blood may prevent necessary clotting and scabbing (like when you cut or wound yourself, for example), which could result in excessive blood loss.

    Does Ginkgo Biloba interact with anticonvulsants and seizure medications?

    For those on anticonvulsants and seizure threshold-lowering drugs, herbs, and supplements, taking Ginkgo Biloba might not be advisable. High amounts of ginkgo toxin, found in Ginkgo Biloba seeds and, to a lesser extent, its leaves, may cause seizures. It's like adding fuel to a fire – not a good idea!

    How does Ginkgo Biloba interact with antidepressants and statins?

    Ginkgo Biloba could potentially decrease the effectiveness of certain antidepressants, like fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and imipramine (Tofranil). Similarly, taking Ginkgo Biloba with certain statins like simvastatin (Zocor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) might reduce their effects. Imagine it as trying to drive with your foot on the brake; you're not going to get very far.

    What about Ginkgo Biloba and diabetes drugs or Ibuprofen?

    Ginkgo Biloba might also alter your response to diabetes drugs, and if combined with ibuprofen, it could increase your risk of bleeding.

    VitaRx Tip

    It's always best to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    While we've covered quite a bit of ground on the topic of Ginkgo Biloba and other nutritional supplements, there might be a few questions still hanging in the air. Let's address some of those to help you make informed decisions about your health and wellness.

    Final thoughts

    Well, that's the long and the short of it! I hope this post has helped to "leaf" no stone unturned in your quest for knowledge about Ginkgo Biloba.

    Remember, the world of supplements is like a salad bar—you can mix and match to meet your unique nutritional needs. But it's always best to "lettuce" know if you're uncertain—we're here to help!

    Sources and references


    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

     Dr. Jacquie Leone avatar

    Dr. Leone holds a BA in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and board certification in holistic nutrition. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Leone has developed and currently teaches science and nutrition courses for a nationally accredited institution. She specializes in chronic illness, gastrointestinal dysregulation, inflammatory conditions, and mental health. Her unique approach combines the wisdom of Eastern medicine with the technology and science of Western medicine, offering an integrative approach heavily focused on functional medicine.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

    Related posts

    While you're at it, here are some other relevant articles you might be interested in.

    See all blog posts

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz