Phytonutrient Blog

Ginkgo biloba and its medicinal virtues

Medicinal virtues

Ginkgo biloba is believed to have possible effects on cardiovascular disease due to its ability to dilate blood vessels and inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in its first stages of development

Researchers redid the analysis of all published studies taking into account each form of dementia and concluded that ginkgo would have a significant effect on cognitive functions,all dementias combined.

It should be noted that ginkgo is included in the ATC (Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical) classification of the World Health Organization, among the drugs against dementia.


A standardized/standardized extract of gingko leaf taken at a rate of 240-480 mg/day may reduce anxiety symptoms after 4 weeks.


Gingko is used as an adjuvant to antipsychotics that create negative symptoms. By combining gingko leaf extract at a dosage of 120 to 360 mg/day) with prescribed antipsychotics, the negative effects are reduced.

Brain function

Ginkgo biloba and brain function
Gingko biloba, active on brain functions

Several studies have further shown that a combination of ginkgo biloba with Panax ginseng could improve memory in healthy individuals. (Scholey, Wesnes, Singh).

As for cognitive faculties, the results obtained so far do not allow us to say that ginkgo improves them or that it slows down their decline associated with aging.

A few studies show a slight improvement in memory and cognitive ailments in the elderly. On the other hand, others claim the opposite or are at least septic.

With regard to Alzheimer’s disease, a large study (GuidAge) was launched in 2008 in Europe in subjects aged 70 years, healthy or suffering from mild cognitive impairment, with the aim of studying the preventive effect of EGb 761 (120 mg twice daily) in Alzheimer’s disease8. This study published in 2012 reported no preventive effect of the extract (Vellas), confirming the previous results (Snitz).


Taking a standardized extract (EGb 761) at 120 mg/day for six months (120 mg/day for 6 months) appears to improve color vision in diabetics with retinopathy.


Two studies reported a slowdown in vision deterioration in patients with glaucoma treated with gingko biloba extract (120-160 mg/day) (Health Passport).

Raynaud’s disease

The standardized extract of ginkgo leaves is recognized by the World Health Organization for the treatment of disorders related to peripheral arterial resistance, of which Raynaud’s disease is a part. On this subject, scientists do not all agree and studies are continuing in order to clarify the obscure points.

Its sexual virtues

Many plants are supposed to awaken sexual desire or help the physical side to achieve the expected performance. Some of them are part of our diet such as: artichoke, ginger, cayenne, vanilla and chocolate. Others such as ginkgo biloba,Asian and American ginseng, rhodiola, and maca that would stimulate pshychic, require some preparation to be consumed. However, with the exception of maca recognized by Health Canada to have certain effects on sexual well-being,Western science has never been able to demonstrate these facts. On the other hand, in Asian culture, more than a hundred species of plants including gingko and also animal substances such as rhino horn and also velvet wood are widely accepted either as a sexual stimulant, mental or physical.

For some fruits and vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, watermelon, pomegranate and broccoli, the explanation is simpler, it is their nitrate concentration. The cavernous bodies of the penis and clitoris are a small spongy ball of very small nerves surrounded by blood vessels. In men, the cavernous body is located in the penis from its base (much like an inner tube). In women, it surrounds the clitoris. During sexual periods, it becomes engorged with blood and becomes active. Its stimulation depends on the relaxation of the genital muscles. Nitric oxide (NO) and its metabolite cyclic GMP directly influences the erectile mechanism in both men and women. In humans, its action leads to the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the penis, which has the effect of facilitating the passage of blood from the penile veins and leading to swelling of the penis. The more marked the presence of cGMP, the longer lasting and stronger the erection will be. In women, a similar but less strong phenomenon occurs in the clitoris.

Source: Health Canada –

  • Nomenclature of the Compendium of Medicinal Ingredients
  • Drugs and natural health products
  • Product Monograph: Gingko biloba

The purpose of this monograph is to serve as a guide for industry in the preparation of licence applications and labels for the purpose of obtaining a product market authorization. It is not intended to be an in-depth study of the medicinal (medicinal) ingredient(s).

This monograph is a document, with supporting references, to be used as a labelling standard.

Note: Parentheses contain optional information elements — they do not need to be included in the Product Licence Application (MDL) or product label. The forward slash (/) indicates that the terms are synonymous. The applicant may use any of the terms indicated.

Date: 2009-06-24

Name of NHPID

Ginkgo biloba

Proper name(s)

Ginkgo biloba L. (Ginkgoaceae)

Common name(s)

  • Ecu tree
  • Tree with forty ecus
  • Tree of Heaven
  • Ginkgo
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Japanese walnut

Material of origin


Route of administration


Dosage form(s)

  • Foods or food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gum or beverages are excluded from this monograph.
  • Acceptable dosage forms include, but are not limited to, strips, capsules, tablets, chewable dosage forms (e.g., tablets, gummies), liquids or powders.

Recommended use(s) or purpose(s)

Statement(s) specifying the following:

  • Helps improve cognitive function in adults
  • Helps improve memory in adults
  • Helps to maintain peripheral traffic



Preparation: All standardized extracts

Dose(s): 4 – 12 Grams per day, dried leaves

  • 22-27 Percent flavoglycosides
  • 5-7 Percent terpeno-lactones


Refer to Appendix 1 for relevant examples of dose and frequency preparations for use, as referenced above. The purpose of Annex 1 is to provide guidance to industry.

Duration of use

  • For products providing 4 – 5.99 Grams per day:
    Consult a health care practitioner if use extends beyond 8 months
  • For products providing 6 – 9 Grams per day:
    Consult a health care practitioner if use extends beyond 6 weeks
  • For products providing 9.01 – 12 Grams per day:
    Consult a health care practitioner if use extends beyond 4 weeks

Mention of risks

Statement(s) specifying the following:

Precaution(s) and warning(s):

  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure or seizures

Do not use if you are taking health products that may have an effect on blood clotting (e.g. anticoagulant agents, replacement therapy with clotting factors, acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, fish oil, vitamin E); these products may increase the risk of spontaneous bleeding

Known adverse reaction(s):
Statement not required

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be selected from the current database of natural health product ingredients and must comply with the restrictions defined in the database.

  • Finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements outlined in the NHPD’s Natural Health Product Quality Reference Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements set out in the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database(NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient may comply with the specifications set out in the following officinal monographs: ‘Ginkgo Leaf’ published in the British Pharmacopoeia (BP), ‘Ginkgo Leaf (Ginkgonis folium)’ published in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.), or ‘Ginkgo’, ‘Powdered Ginkgo Extract’, ‘Ginkgo Capsules’ and ‘Ginkgo Tablets’ published in the Us Pharmacopoeia (USP).


References cited

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  • Boullard B. Medicinal Plants of the World: Realities and Beliefs. Paris (FR): Éditions ESTEM; 2001.
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  • Mehlsen J, Drabaek H, Wiinberg N, Winther K. Effects of a Ginkgo biloba extract on forearm haemodynamics in healthy volunteers. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging 2002;22(6):375-378.
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  • USP 32: United States Pharmacopeial Convention. 2009. United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary (USP 32 – NF 27). Rockville (MD): The United States Pharmacopeial Convention.
  • Wiersema J, León B. 1999. World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press LLC.

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  • Gerhardt G, Rogalla K, Jaeger J. [Drug therapy of disorders of cerebral performance. Randomized comparative study of dihydroergotoxin and Ginkgo biloba extract]. Fortschritte der Medizin 1990;108(19):384-388 (in German).
  • Gessner B, Voelp A, Klasser M. Study of the long-term action of a Ginkgo biloba extract on vigilance and mental performance as determined by means of quantitative pharmaco-EEG and psychometric measurements. Arzneimittel-Forschung 1985;35(9):1459-1465.
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  • Hofferberth B. [The effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on neurophysiological and psychometric measurement results in patients with psychotic organic brain syndrome. A double-blind study against placebo]. Arzneimittel-Forschung 1989;39(8):918-922 (in German).
  • Hofferberth B. The efficacy of EGb 761 in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on different levels of investigation. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 1994;9(3):215-222.
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  • Kudolo GB. The effect of 3-month ingestion of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on pancreatic beta-cell function in response to glucose loading in individuals with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2001;41(6):600-611.
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Appendix 1: Examples of Dosage Preparations, Frequencies and Directions for Use


Standardized extract:

  • Dry extract equivalent to 4 g of dried leaves, per day (50 1, 80 mg) (Santos et al. 2003)
  • Dry extract equivalent to 3 to 4 g of dried leaves, 2 to 3 times a day (50:1, 60-80 mg) (Elsbagh et al. 2005; Boelsma et al. 2004; Cieza et al. 2003; Mehlsen et al. 2002; Mix and Crews 2002; Moulton et al. 2001; Stough et al. 2001; Kennedy et al. 2000; Mix and Crews 2000; Pittler and Ernst 2000)


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