Can Ginkgo Biloba help with vitiligo?

Ginkgo Leaves VitiligoGinkgo Biloba extract seems to be a simple, safe and fairly effective therapy for arresting the progression of the vitiligo. Ginkgo Biloba is known to have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant properties, thus potentially impacting the oxidative stress mechanisms of vitiligo. Intake of Ginkgo Biloba has been also reported to improve symptoms associated with dementia including anxiety, improve sleep efficiency and reduce awakenings.

The ease of taking an oral pill, the relatively low cost, and the low frequency of adverse reactions with Ginkgo Biloba make its use tempting for vitiligo management. However, there are still many questions about the correct dose, its true effectiveness, interactions with drugs, and possible adverse reactions.

Recommended Dosage

There are no recognized guidelines on the maximum daily dosage of Gingko Biloba. In similar trials conducted in India (Pubmed) and Canada (Pubmed) participants were  given  40 mg (India) or 60 mg (Canada) of standardized Ginkgo Biloba extract. Participants were instructed to take 1 oral capsule three times (India) or two times (Canada) per day, 10 minutes before meal. At the same time, some manufacturers recommend twice-daily intake of 120 mg of standardized Gingko Biloba with the meal. 

A necessary word of caution

Ginkgo Biloba is relatively safe, there has been very few reported cases of adverse effects, which included stomach complaints, dyspepsia, and nausea. Although poor documentation is available on suggested dosing, high doses of Ginkgo Biloba could decrease the effectiveness of therapy in patients taking medications with anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, anti-platelet agents (pdf). 

As with any new drug, check with your doctor before starting with Gingko Biloba therapy. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these: Aspirin, Warfarin, Ibuprofen, Ticlopidine, Azpazolam, Digoxin, Diltiazem, Haloperidol, Trazodone, Nicardipine, Nifedipine, Omerprazole, Thiazide diuretics, Tolbutamide, Valproate.

Did you know? 

Ginkgos are large trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m (66–115 feet). Ginkgo is a unique species of tree with no living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, recognisably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old. The leaves (photo) are unique among seed plants.

Update on February 4, 2015: Product warning

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