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Ginkgo biloba

ginkgo biloba 

Ginkgo biloba is a ‘living fossil’ it is the oldest-known living species of tree. The extract (GBE) is taken from its wide, double-lobed leaves, and has been used for centuries to support the nervous system and circulatory health.

There are two groups of active constituents, flavonoids and terpenoids. The extract has powerful antioxidant properties and may help with the neutralisation of harmful free radicals in the body. It is also a powerful glutamate antagonist and neuroprotector, and because of these properties has been shown to be helpful for many tinnitus sufferers.

In general, GBE acts as an ‘adaptogen’ - acting to increase tolerance of stress, and reduce the effect of environmental stressors such as free radicals. It has been shown to help regulate the tone and elasticity of blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the brain and extremities while also promoting the delivery of oxygen and glucose (blood sugar) to nerve cells. Ginkgo extracts may therefore be beneficial for stress management, circulatory health and healthy vision.

Unfortunately, research has not been able to corroborate its effectiveness for enhancing cognitive function in normal people, although it has been shown to be mildly beneficial for those suffering from Altzheimer’s disease.

GBE has in the past been linked to excessive bleeding and bleeding into the brain but this assertion has been thoroughly discredited by subsequent research, and the compound has been demonstrated to be safe at many times the normal intake levels.


Ginkgo biloba extracts sold in the US and Europe must be ‘standardised’" to contain at least 24% Ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones as defined by the German ‘Commission E’. However, this standard also requires that extracts contain minimum amounts of the glycosides, lactones and bilobalide.

Independent testing of a large number of over-the-counter products has found more than 3/4 of these products "lacked adequate levels of one or more important compounds expected of clinically effective ginkgo". Of particular importance is that 67% of these products contained less than 20% of the specified amount of bilobalide, the compound responsible for reducing glutamate toxicity and providing neuroprotection. If you wish to try GBE for tinnitus, check that the bilobalide level is at least 2.6% or it will not be effective



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