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Ginkgo Biloba (Supplement)

Last updated on 22/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Ginkgo Biloba

CHINESE NAME: 銀杏

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Doctor’s Choice 醫之選, Nature’s Way, Natrol

DRUG CLASS: Herbal medicine

USED FOR: Cognitive impairment, dementia, macular degeneration, blood vessel problems 

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Asian Ginseng, Echinacea, Garlic, Kava, St John’s Wort, Valerian

What is Ginkgo Biloba for?

Ginkgo Biloba is a herb traditionally used as a supplement. Only the extract from the leaf of Ginkgo Biloba are considered to be clinically useful, while the seed extracts are considered poisonous.

The main components that enable Ginkgo Biloba to have clinical values are terpene lactones and ginkgo flavone glycosides. These two groups of substances possess antioxidant properties and can dilate your blood vessels. Some studies also found that Ginkgo Biloba might help inhibit acetylcholinesterase in the central nervous system, which is an important substance involved in the progression of different neurological disorders. Ginkgo Biloba is commonly taken as a supplement to improve cognitive function and blood vessels problems. However, there is still limited scientific evidence to make definite conclusions about the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba.

How to use it?

Ginkgo Biloba is usually taken by mouth as tablets, capsules, extracts and herbal tea. The usual adult dose is 120-240 mg daily in two to three doses. For specific dosages, refer to the product label.

What are the side effects of Ginkgo Biloba?

The side effects of taking Ginkgo Biloba are nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and allergic skin reactions. Advise your doctor or pharmacist before taking Ginkgo Biloba if you are currently taking any antiplatelet drugs (e.g. Aspirin, Clopidogrel) or anticoagulant drugs (e.g. Warfarin) as it may increase the risk of bleeding.

Who should not take Ginkgo Biloba?

Patients with bleeding disorders should avoid Ginkgo Biloba as it may increase the risk of bleeding.

Pharmacist Tips:

Data on the safety and efficacy of Ginkgo Biloba are limited and not robust. There is also variability in the quality and purity of the products. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal supplements.

Common dosing schedule:
Take Ginkgo Biloba as per product instructions. Overdosing can cause convulsions.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Ginkgo Biloba may interact with:
– Anticoagulants, e.g. Heparin, Warfarin
– Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, e.g. Isocarboxazid, Phenelzine
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g. Aspirin
Other herbs that may increase the bleeding risk, e.g. Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Ginkgo Biloba in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Ginkgo Biloba supplements can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health. 

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Ginkgo Biloba in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.