As part of the Charms & Harms series in the Journal of Primary Care, Dr. Joanne Barnes, from the University of Auckland, in New Zealand distilled the evidence.

Here’s what we know.

  • Evidence for the efficacy of ginkgo extracts is unconvincing for the following conditions.
    • Cognitive impairment and dementia
    • Intermittent claudication
    • Acute ischemic stroke
    • Tinnitus
    • Age–related macular degeneration
  • Safety
    • Ginkgo preparations have been associated with bleeding reactions.

The bottom line?

The use of ginkgo should be avoided, or at least used with caution, in people with bleeding disorders and those taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.

People who use Ginkgo should be vigilant for signs of bleeding (discussed here) and seek professional help.

Finally, be aware that different ginkgo products vary in their pharmaceutical quality, and the implications of this on efficacy and safety should be considered.

7/12/10 21:55 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.