February 14, 2016


font size

How does Ginkgo work?

Ginkgo seems to improve blood circulation, which might help the brain, eyes, ears, and legs function better. It may slow down Alzheimer's disease by interfering with the changes in the brain that interfere with thinking.

Ginkgo seeds contain substances that might kill bacteria and fungi which cause infections in the body. The seeds also contain a toxin that can cause side effects like seizure and loss of consciousness.

Are there safety concerns?

Ginkgo is safe for most people when used appropriately. It can cause some minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions.

There is some concern that ginkgo might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Ginkgo thins the blood and decreases its ability to form clots. A few people taking ginkgo have had bleeding into the eye and into the brain, and excessive bleeding following surgery.

Some research suggests that a specific combination of ginkgo leaf extract plus American ginseng might be safe in children when used short-term.

Ginkgo seeds might not be safe. Long-term use or use of medicinal amounts can cause serious side effects including stomachache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, difficulty breathing, weak pulse, shock, seizures, loss of consciousness, and death.

Do not take ginkgo if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. It might increase the risk of bleeding.
  • You have a bleeding problem.
  • You have seizures, convulsions, or epilepsy.
  • You are trying to get pregnant or father a child.

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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.

WebMD Daily

Get breaking medical news.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations