What are the Most Common Ginkgo Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Nick Doniger
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2020
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Ginkgo, also called ginkgo biloba, is a type of plant processed as a supplement to promote numerous supposed health benefits. Though not often taken for such, one of the positive side effects of taking the product is an apparent antioxidant quality. Some negative ginkgo side effects have been reported, particularly headaches and digestive discomfort. Serious ginkgo side effects include preventing blood from properly clotting. Certain allergic reactions have been reported, though these are less common.

Ginkgo is taken to relieve a number of ailments. It is generally taken to improve the flow of blood, enhance memory, lower cholesterol, and boost male fertility and male libido. Most often taken orally, ginkgo is available in pill form, tea form, and in the form of a tincture or extract. As impurities or additives may be found in such supplements, it is often recommended that a doctor is consulted before choosing which type and which brand of ginkgo biloba is taken by a patient.


The most common ginkgo side effects include digestive discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, and nausea. Some side effects actually contradict the ailments the substance is used for. Headaches and dizziness have been reported after taking ginkgo biloba, even though it is sometimes taken to relieve these issues. Ginkgo side effects on pregnant women and unborn babies require further study. As the product has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid taking ginkgo biloba in any form.

Some serious ginkgo side effects have been reported, such as inhibiting or slowing blood clots. Blood clotting is a necessary body function that prevents profuse blood loss from cuts and wounds. Because of this, it may be advantageous to consult with a doctor before dental work or surgery is performed. Some other serious side effects associated with taking ginkgo biloba have been reported, such as fainting, trouble speaking, muscle spasms, and easy bruising or bleeding. These, however, are less common.

Allergic reactions to ginkgo biloba are possible. As is common with allergic reactions to most other substances, itching, swelling, respiratory difficulty and hives may occur. Such reactions are most common in the event that the fruit pulp or seeds of the ginkgo plant are handled. These parts of the plant are not ever recommended for handling or consumption, as they may have a toxic effect on the body.

There are positive ginkgo side effects as well. While not necessarily taken for such, ginkgo biloba has certain antioxidant qualities, which prevent damage to internal organs from free radicals, or oxidants. It is not recommended that ginkgo is taken with other potent antioxidant supplements, as a harmful interaction is possible. Ginkgo may also have a negative interaction with certain prescription drugs, such as anti-depressants.


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