Ginkgo, also known as gingko biloba, is an herbal supplement sometimes used for medicinal purposes. The use of ginkgo dates back thousands of years, and many studies have analyzed the health benefits and risks of using this herbal supplement. Although ginkgo is generally considered a safe herbal supplement, you may experience side effects after consuming ginkgo, especially if taken in large quantities.
According to a study published in "Neurology" by Frank Gilliam and David Wennberg, ginkgo can cause internal bleeding, especially if taken in combination with other drugs. This herbal supplement can also act as an anti-coagulant, which means that it may prevent your blood from clotting. Therefore, you should exercise caution when taking ginkgo to prevent bruise formation or bleeding. Gastrointestinal bleeding may also occur after taking too much ginkgo. Therefore, stop using ginkgo at least 36 hours prior to any kind of surgery or dental procedure.
Changes in Insulin Levels
If you are a diabetic who uses medications to improve your insulin level, you should avoid taking ginkgo. According to the Mayo Clinic, ginkgo can cause the insulin level in your blood to decrease. Ginkgo can, therefore, counteract drugs designed to increase insulin levels and may cause your diabetic medications to lose their effectiveness.
Some people may develop allergies to ginkgo. Ginkgo supplements contain ginkgolic acid, a toxin that may provoke an allergic reaction in some individuals. To help minimize the possibility of an allergy to ginkgo, always buy your ginkgo tablets or capsules from a pharmaceutically reputable company. Additionally, if you are already allergic to poison ivy, cashew nuts or mango rinds, you have an increased chance of developing an allergy to ginkgo. Skin blisters are the most frequently observed allergic reaction to ginkgo.
Ginkgo can stimulate your mind, but many people prone to hyperactivity, impulsiveness or anxiety find the effects of ginkgo too strong. You may develop feelings of restlessness and agitation after taking too much ginkgo. Gastrointestinal distress is another possible side effect of taking this herbal supplement. Typically, this distress manifests as an upset and gassy stomach, nausea or diarrhea. If you experience any adverse side effects after taking ginkgo supplements, immediately discontinue use and seek medical attention.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginkgo Biloba; Steven D. Ehrlich; March 2009
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Ginkgo; November 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba L.); April 2011
- "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine"; Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno; 1997
- "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs With All Their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments"; Andrew Chevallier; 2000