Ginkgo Biloba and Weight Loss

Ginkgo biloba, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has gained modern attention as a weight loss supplement. Although ginkbo biloba contains properties known to boost dieting efforts, no studies confirm its use for shedding pounds. Consult a physician before taking ginkbo biloba or beginning any weight loss program.

A ginkgo biloba tree. (Image: ooaco/iStock/Getty Images)

Traditional Uses

Among the oldest living tree species, ginkgo biloba is also among the most extensively studied plants by modern scientists, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is among the top medicines prescribed in France and Germany and among the top-selling herbal supplements sold in the United States, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It has traditionally been used to treat circulatory disorders and memory loss, and clinical tests support its use in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, glaucoma and tinnitus.

Weight Loss Speculation

No studies link ginkgo biloba to weight loss, but the theory is that two properties in the ancient plant -- a single tree can live to be 1,000 years old -- can contribute. Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids, an antioxidant also found in green tea. Green tea flavonoids produced weight loss -- although often slight -- in 15 clinical trials studied by Craig Coleman, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut. Ginkbo biloba also contains terpenoids, which include blood flow. Since increased blood flow is a benefit of calorie-burning exercise, terpenoids could possibly provide a boost to your metabolism.

Additional Benefits

According to the New Straits Times, four decades of research has demonstrated that ginkgo biloba improves brain function. Ginkgo biloba proved effective in some 50 controlled clinical trials in the treatment of absent mindedness, confusion, diminished memory and loss of concentration, according to the New Straits Times. No scientific evidence links ginkgo biloba directly to weight loss, although its ability to improve memory could help you to keep track of calories and not forget to include on-the-go snacks in your daily totals.

Considerations

If you are shopping for ginkbo biloba, look for extracts that contain 24 to 32 percent flavonoids and 6 to 12 percent terpenoids. Flavonoids may be listed on product labels as flavone glycosides or heterosides. Terpenoids may be called triterpene. You can take ginkbo biloba in liquid extracts, in capsules or tablets or by making tea from dried leaves. Doses range from 120 to 240 mg per day for purposes such as improving memory and relieving blood clots. It may be tempting to take more for weight loss, but without proven benefits, this could be needlessly risky.

Precautions

Although ginkbo biloba is generally considered safe, pregnant and nursing women and people with epilepsy should not take it. You should also not take ginkbo biloba within 36 hours of surgery of dental procedures because of its blood-thinning properties. Taking ginkbo biloba could interfere with some medications including these: anticonvulsant medications, antidepressants containing serotonin reuptake inhibitors, blood pressure medications, insulin, diuretics and blood thinners, including aspirin.

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