The Common Name is Not Enough

The ginkgo supplement that you buy may have the backing of numerous clinical trials indicating benefits for those with dementia, as well as possible improvements in blood circulation. Or it could be a product produced as a result of creative manufacturing and without any scientific support. The product tested clinically is a highly concentrated extract of the leaf (50 times concentrate) with specified levels of certain chemical constituents (24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones). There are dietary supplement products on the market containing ginkgo whole leaf. At first glance you might think this is a traditional preparation. However, the Chinese traditionally used preparations of dried, steamed seeds to improve lung function in asthmatics and those with upper respiratory infections. The use of the leaf is a modern development. The whole ginkgo leaf in its natural form has neither the backing of science nor tradition. Look carefully at the label next time you buy an herbal supplement containing ginkgo. The common name is not enough.