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All about: ginkgo

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Generic Name: ginkgo (GING koe)
Brand Names:

What is ginkgo?

The use of ginkgo in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Ginkgo is also known as Ginkgo biloba, maidenhair tree, kew tree, fossil tree, ginkyo, and yinhsing.

Ginkgo has been used to improve blood flow to the brain. This may help to improve memory, concentration, and mood; and help to reduce anxiety and stress, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and headache. Ginkgo has also been used to increase circulation to the limbs and in the treatment of asthma.

Ginkgo has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of ginkgo may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Ginkgo may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about ginkgo?

Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; if you are taking a medicine to prevent blood clots; or if you are taking other medications, herbs, antioxidants, or health supplements (these may also affect blood clotting). Ginkgo may affect the time it takes for the blood to clot.

Ginkgo has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of ginkgo may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Who should not take ginkgo?

Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; if you are taking a medicine to prevent blood clots; or if you are taking other medications, herbs, antioxidants, or health supplements (these may also affect blood clotting). Ginkgo may affect the time it takes for the blood to clot.

Before taking ginkgo, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have any other medical conditions, allergies (especially to plants), or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Ginkgo may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. It is not known whether ginkgo will harm an unborn baby. Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether ginkgo will harm a nursing infant. There is no information available regarding the use of ginkgo by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take ginkgo?

The use of ginkgo in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take ginkgo, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Ginkgo is available in pill and liquid forms.

Ginkgo leaves can also be brewed to form a tea for drinking.

Do not take more of this product than is directed. Too much could be dangerous. Do not use ginkgo seeds or fruit pulp. These have been shown to be toxic. Also, do not handle the ginkgo fruit pulp. A severe reaction including skin redness, swelling, blistering, and itching lasting for 7 to 10 days has been reported.

Store ginkgo as directed on the package. In general, ginkgo should be protected from light and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

No information is available regarding a missed dose of ginkgo. Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you require further information.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a ginkgo overdose may include seizures, a loss of consciousness, and possibly death.

What should I avoid while taking ginkgo?

There are no known restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking ginkgo, unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.

Ginkgo side effects

Although uncommon, serious side effects have been reported with the use of ginkgo. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking ginkgo and seek emergency medical attention or notify your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • irregular heartbeats;

  • muscle spasms or cramps;

  • seizures; or

  • loss of consciousness.

Other less serious side effects have also been reported to occur. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience

  • headache;

  • dizziness; or

  • stomach upset.

Do not use ginkgo seeds or fruit pulp. These have been shown to be toxic. Also, do not handle the ginkgo fruit pulp. A severe reaction including skin redness, swelling, blistering, and itching lasting for 7 to 10 days has been reported.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect ginkgo?

Do not take ginkgo without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
  • warfarin (Coumadin);

  • aspirin;

  • a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, others), ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis), indomethacin (Indocin), etodolac (Lodine), nabumetone (Relafen), oxaprozin (Daypro), piroxicam (Feldene), sulindac (Clinoril), tolmetin (Tolectin), and others;

  • ardeparin (Normiflo);

  • dalteparin (Fragmin);

  • danaparoid (Orgaran);

  • enoxaparin (Lovenox);

  • heparin; or

  • other herbs, antioxidants, or health supplements (these may affect blood clotting).

You may not be able to take ginkgo, or you may require special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with ginkgo or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines or other herbal/health supplements.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider may have more information about ginkgo.

  • Consultation with a licensed health care professional is advisable before using any herbal/health supplement. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous. Remember, keep this and all other prescription drug products, over-the-counter drug products, and herbal/health supplements out of the reach of children.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:07:52 PM.

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