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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- MedlinePlus: Ginkgo
- MayoClinic.com: Ginkgo Safety
- "Toxicology Letters"; Cytotoxicity of Ginkgolic Acid in HepG2 Cells; Z.H. Liua and S. Zeng; June 22, 2009 and primary rat hepatocytes
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Research indicates Ginkgo biloba may be effective for improving symptoms of many health disorders, according to MedlinePlus 2. Some of these include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, leg pain when walking due to poor blood flow, dizziness connected with balance disorders, glaucoma and premenstrual syndrome. Ginkgo is associated with some side effects, however, including allergic reactions 13. Consult a qualified health care provider before consuming ginkgo.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Ginkgo Side Effects
Ginkgo leaf extract is probably safe for most people, and side effects are generally minor, notes MedlinePlus 13. However, you could experience an upset stomach, gas, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, headache, dizziness or a forceful heartbeat. Signs of an allergic reaction to ginkgo may include rash, hives, itching, facial or mouth swelling, tightness in your chest or trouble breathing. Any of these symptoms while taking ginkgo call for immediate medical attention.
Crude Ginkgo Versus Commercial Products
The crude ginkgo plant, fruit, pulp or nuts, also called seeds, are more likely to cause serious side effects than commercial extracts 13. They have been connected with allergic contact dermatitis, or skin irritation and itching that develops after touching the items. In addition, eating these substances can cause severe allergic skin reactions and mucous membrane irritation, according to MedlinePlus.
A major culprit in allergic reactions to Ginkgo biloba is the component ginkgolic acid 2. This component not only causes severe allergic reactions, but may increase the risk of cancer when consumed in large amounts, according to eMedTV. Ginkgo supplements should contain less than 5 ppm ginkgolic acid. To ensure your ginkgo supplements are safe, buy only pharmaceutical-grade products from reputable manufacturers. In addition, avoid consuming ginkgo fruit or seeds, or fresh or dried ginkgo leaves.
You may be more susceptible to an allergic reaction to ginkgo if you are allergic to urushiols, according to MayoClinic.com. Urushiols are oils that cause allergic reactions in many people. They occur in cashew shells, mango rind, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
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