What is Ginkgo Biloba ?
Also known as Ginkgoaceae contain a number of identified flavonol, glycosides, terpene lactones, and bilobalide which are associated with perceived health benefits (Rimmer 2007; Meton 2008). It has been shown to facilitate peripheral blood flow and it is thought that this is the mechanism that promotes sexual arousal through nitric oxide scavenging abilities and relaxant effect on smooth muscle tissue (Auguet 1983; Marocci 1994).
What do the studies suggest about Ginkgo Biloba supplementation in libido improvement?
A study by Meston evaluated it’s effects on subjective and physiological (using vaginal photoplethysmography) measure of sexual function in women with sexual arousal disorder and found that there was a small but significant facilitatory effect on physiological sexual arousal compared to placebo but no effect on subjective sexual arousal.
A study that compared placebo, ginkgo biloba extract, sex therapy or sex therapy plus ginkgo biloba found that when combined with sex therapy, but not alone, long term therapy increased sexual desire and contentment beyond placebo, however, sex therapy alone improved sexual desire and contentment when compared to placebo.
In a study of women taking antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction herbal treatment was effective in alleviating antidepressant-induced sexual symptoms in 91% of women. The authors concluded that it could increase vascular flow to the genitals through the inhibition of platelet activating factors due to the enhancement of cerebral perfusion (Cohen 1998). There was also a case report of a 37-year old woman who reported improvement in sexual function with daily gingko extract (Ellison 1998).
What is the appropriate dose of Ginkgo Biloba?
A dose of 300mg/day of Gingko biloba seems to be the most common dose used.
What are potential side effects?
There is a concern that it may cause prolonged bleeding time and risk for hemorrhage through antiplatelet activity and risk of intracranial bleeding. Interactions with other anticoagulants would be of concern – so anyone taking such medications as warfarin, aspirin or lithium would not be candidates for ginkgo biloba.
Who might be helped by Ginkgo biloba?
It really seems that the only suggested benefit may be for women with sexual function issues secondary to taking anti-depressant use.
Auguet M, Clostre F. Effects of an extract of Ginkgo biloba and diverse substances on the phasic and tonic components of the contractions of an isolated rabbit aorta. Gen Pharmcol 1983;14:277-80.
Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. Binkgo biloba for antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther 1998;4:139-43 .
Ellison JM, DeLuca P. Fluoxetine induced genital anesthesia reliebed by Ginkgo biloba extract. J. Clin Psychiatry 1998;59:199-200.
Kang BJ, LeeSJ, Kim MD, Cho MJ. A placebo controlled, double-blind trial of Ginkgo biloba for antidepresaant induced sexual dysfunction. Hum Psychopharmcol 2002;17:279-84.
Marocci L, Maguire JJ, Droy-Lefaix MT, Packer L. The nitric oxide-scavenging properaties of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1994; 201:748-55.
Meston CM, Rellini Ah, Telch MJ. Short and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extraction on sexual dysfunction in women. Arch Sex Behav 2008;37:530-47.
Rimmer CA, Howerton SB, Shrpless KE, Sander LC, Long SE, Murphy KE, Porter BJ, Putzbach K, Rearich MS, Wise SA, Wood LH, Ziesler R, Hancock DK, Yen JH, Betz JM, Nguyenpho A, Yang L, Scriver C, Willie S, Sturgeon R, Schaneberg B, Nelsonm C, Skamarack J, Pan M, Levanseler K, Gray D, Waysek EH, Blatter A Reich E. Characterization of a suite of ginkgo –containing standard reference materials. Anal Bioanal Chem 2007; 389:179-96.