Ginkgo Biloba: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

Updated on January 28, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

In this review, we will look at Ginkgo Biloba, what it is, the effects, benefits, safety, recommended dosage, and the potential side effects you may run into. You'll also find information and reviews from Reddit users at the end of this article.

Do you want to improve your memory, focus, and energy?

Millions of people take Ginkgo Biloba every day to boost their cognitive performance. It’s one of the most popular nootropics in the world for good reason – it works!

You don’t have to be a genius to know that Ginkgo Biloba is a great choice for anyone looking for an edge in life.

It can help you perform better at work, keep your mind sharp and focused, and increase your energy levels so you feel more motivated throughout the day.

In this article, we take a look at it in closer detail whilst also exploring its benefits, suggested dosage, and potential side effects.

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this great herbal supplement.

Ginkgo Biloba Review Summary

Ginkgo Biloba is the perfect nootropic for those seeking to improve their cognitive function and memory. It is a natural extract derived from the Ginkgo Biloba tree. The tree is native to China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Ginkgo Biloba has been shown to improve blood circulation to the brain, which can help to improve cognitive function and memory.

It is also a potent antioxidant and can help to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. Ginkgo Biloba is generally well-tolerated with few side effects.


  • Well-tolerated nootropic
  • Can improve cognitive function and memory
  • Is a potent antioxidant


  • Not the ideal nootropics for people taking anticoagulants (blood-thinning) medications

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba Review

Ginkgo Biloba, also known as maidenhair, is a large tree with fan-shaped leaves native to China. It has been growing for more than 200 million years and is used for various treatments. It is sometimes referred to as the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants and, therefore, a living fossil.

Although native to China, the tree is also native to Japan and Korea and is not grown in Europe and the United States.

The scientific terms for extracts of the Gingko plant are EGb761 and GBE and it is noted for its cerebral-enhancing effects (1). It has been studied in places such as France, Germany, and China and has been deemed safe, effective, and powerful.

Its leaves and seeds are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and modern research tends to focus on the ginkgo extract taken from the leaves. Research has focused on the extract’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as platelet-forming and circulation-boosting effects, and how it can improve overall brain health (2).

The extract is made up of two active constituents. These are flavonoids and terpenoids and they are known to have extremely strong antioxidant properties. These constituents have been linked to slowing down the progression of age-related diseases by limiting any damage to cells, tissue, and DNA (3).

The most common benefits people report range from an improved cognitive function, to an increase in energy to reduced symptoms related to chronic disease. It also exerts protective effects against mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress in the body (4).

It is commonly taken by mouth and though the benefits of the herb are vast, scientific evidence to support these claims is still growing.

How Does Ginkgo Biloba Work In The Brain?

Ginkgo Biloba works by increasing blood flow to the brain. Ginkgo biloba contains compounds called terpenoids, which are known to dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation.

This increased blood flow may help supply more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, which could benefit cognition. Additionally, Ginkgo Biloba may act as an antioxidant, helping to protect brain cells from damage.

Though more research is needed to confirm these effects, Ginkgo Biloba is generally considered safe and may be worth a try for those looking to boost their brain power.

Ginkgo Biloba's proposed mechanisms of action include:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Antioxidant capacities
  • Cerebral glucose utilization
  • Reduced platelet aggregation
  • Neurotransmitter regulation and vasomotor effects (5).

What Is Ginkgo Biloba Used For?

Ginkgo Biloba is used for various purposes, including memory enhancement, treatment of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and anxiety relief. Ginkgo nuts are used for cough, fever, diarrhea, toothaches, and even gonorrhea.

Let's take a closer look at some of the most common uses for Ginkgo Biloba down below.

Coronary Heart Disease

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginkgo seeds were used to open channels of energy to different organ systems in adults. These systems included the liver, brain, lungs, and kidneys. Gingko’s ability to increase blood flow across the body is now believed to be the key to its many benefits.

It increases blood flow by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and this means it’s a great supplement for those with poor circulation (6).

Psychiatric Disorders and Dementia

Gingko has been reported to treat symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, yet there is no evidence of it being able to delay or prevent the disease from developing.

It may help with cognitive decline and dementia as it improves blood flow to the brain, which means it especially relates to vascular dementia (7).

It might also be able to treat symptoms of psychiatric disorders and might be able to treat symptoms of schizophrenia (8).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression

Gingko can help reduce anxiety symptoms, which may be attributed to the high levels of antioxidants in the herb (9).

It might also be able to treat symptoms of depression (10) and calm users down in stressful situations. This is related to the herb's anti-inflammatory properties, which allows the body to cope with high-stress hormone levels.

Migraine and Dizziness

In traditional Chinese medicine, this was a popular use. Despite there not being as much research done on this area, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects might be useful in treating headaches or migraines (11).

It might also help with headaches that are linked to constricted blood vessels or reduced blood flow, as Gingko can help dilate the blood vessels. The medicine might also be able to help with dizziness, also known as vertigo, and can help with balance disorders (12).

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Gingko has been said to relieve tenderness of the breast associated with PMS. For this to work, you should take the extract during the 16th day of your cycle and continue with it until the 5th day of your next cycle.

Research also suggests that Gingko can help with psychological symptoms of PMS (13).

Brain Function

Gingko has been reported to increase brain function, whilst also boosting mental performance, improving working memory and focus, and increasing attention span (14).

It might also be able to improve thinking skills and memory in those recovering from a stroke. It might not be as effective as an IV, yet ginkgo does not have to be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Respiratory Diseases

Research suggests Gingko Biloba might be able to help with respiratory diseases such as COPD as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties (15). This can possibly reduce inflammation in the airways and increase lung capacity.

More research needs to be carried out into this benefit, but Gingko has also been used to also improve symptoms of asthma (16).

Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunctions such as low libido or erectile dysfunction can be treated with Ginkgo Biloba. This is because the medicine can improve blood levels of nitric oxide and this improves blood circulation via the dilation of blood vessels. An increased blood flow to certain parts of the body can therefore treat sexual dysfunctions.

The use of Ginkgo to increase sexual desire and contentment in women undergoing sexual psychotherapy has been studied and it was found that the Gingko combined with therapy was effective over a long-term period (17).

Tardive Dyskinesia

A 2011 study showed that Ginkgo Biloba may help to improve symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. The study found that those who took 240 mg of Ginkgo Biloba twice daily for 12 weeks had a significant reduction in the severity of their tardive dyskinesia, compared to those who did not take the supplement (18).

Altitude Sickness

A 2007 study showed that Ginkgo Biloba might help to decrease the symptoms of altitude sickness. The study found that those who took 80 mg of Ginkgo Biloba twice daily for 3 days had a significant reduction in the severity of their symptoms compared to those who did not take the supplement (19).

What Are The Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba For Cognition?

The benefits of Ginkgo Biloba for cognition are numerous. This nootropic has been shown to improve memory, attention, and cognitive function in general. The active ingredients in Ginkgo Biloba are thought to work by increasing blood flow to the brain and by protecting nerve cells from damage.

Some of the specific benefits that have been associated with Ginkgo Biloba include:

  • Improved memory, especially in older adults
  • Improved attention and focus
  • Enhanced cognitive function
  • Protection against age-related cognitive decline
  • Reduced risk of dementia
  • The slowdown in the progression of Alzheimer's disease

If you are looking for a natural way to boost your cognition, Ginkgo Biloba is definitely worth considering. This nootropic has a long history of use and a solid body of research to back up its efficacy.

Where To Buy Ginkgo Biloba Online?

If you're looking to buy Ginkgo Biloba online, you have a few different options. You can purchase it in the form of capsules or powder. When it comes to purchasing Ginkgo Biloba, you want to ensure that you're getting it from a reputable source.

There are a lot of low-quality supplements on the market, so you'll want to do your research to ensure you're getting a safe and effective product.

We've done the research for you and found the best place to buy Ginkgo Biloba online:

Pure Nootropics is a reputable company that offers high-quality supplements. Their Ginkgo Biloba is available in 180 mg capsule form. It's also third-party tested for quality and purity.

What Do People Say About Ginkgo Biloba On Reddit?

Here are some reviews of Gingko Biloba from users and contributors on Reddit.

According to ‘Quh49zvf’:

‘I have taken 120 mg a daily, and have experienced some increase in my short-term and long-term memory after around 2 weeks. I have also tested this by doing a memory test (recall numbers) before and after three weeks, and I did 25-30% better in the test after the three weeks. Since I am having exams now, I tried to take a dose of 300 mg an hour before the two of my exams and noticed that I felt much less nervous. I also noticed that I could concentrate for longer periods of time compared to when I did not take it.’

According to ‘FadedConch’:

‘Started taking this a few months ago to help with brain fog when I first get to work and memory loss. It seems to have helped my performance somewhat noticeably. I’m normally pretty forgetful and […] I tend to be less forgetful and less draggy when I take it as opposed to still being half asleep when I get to work for the first couple of hours. I take one capsule at 6 pm every day before I go into work a night shift. Mon-Thurs and sometimes on the weekend if I have extra work to do.’

According to ‘lisanderc’

‘I’ve used it and continue to use it in treatment and healing from a concussion I had 3 years ago. Really does help, as you can truly feel and see the results after a number of weeks of continuous use (dosage dependent of course). Helps with brain fog and creativity for me.’

How Do You Take Ginkgo Biloba For Cognitive Enhancement?

The best way to take Ginkgo Biloba is with a meal in the morning. You can take it with or without food, but taking it with food will help to reduce any stomach upset.

You should start with a lower dose and increase it gradually over time to find what works best for you. You can divide the dose up into 2 or 3 smaller doses throughout the day. Some people cycle Ginkgo Biloba, taking it for 4-6 weeks and then taking a break for a few weeks in order to prevent building up a tolerance.

Others take it continuously. Which approach you take is completely up to you.

Dosage recommendations can range from 60 to 360 mg daily. However, the most common recommended dose of the herbal supplement is between 120 to 240 mg, divided into 2 to 3 doses.

These dosage recommendations are for taking the standardized extract containing between 24-32% flavonoids and 6-12% terpenoids.

Start off with 60 mg if it's your first time taking this supplement. If you have taken it before or are more experienced with nootropics, you can start with 120 mg. Once you know how your body reacts to Ginkgo Biloba, you can increase the dosage to the maximum of 240 mg daily.

What Are the Side Effects of Ginkgo Biloba?

As with all supplements, there are potential side effects to look out for.

It’s important to talk to a medical professional before trying the herb; although the risk remains low, it could cause harm to certain users. If you are allergic to plants with alkylphenols or taking other medications, you should not be taking Gingko Biloba.

Gingko can react to certain medications, which could increase the risk of bleeding. You should avoid mixing Gingko with blood thinners (especially aspirin), antidepressants, diabetes medications and/or NSAIDs.

Potential side effects of Gingko Biloba include:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Rash
  • Nausea

There might also be an increased risk of bruising and bleeding or cause arrhythmia.

The roasted seed or the crude plant are not recommended to be taken by mouth. Eating more than 10 roasted seeds a day can increase the risk of having a seizure. Moreover, eating fresh seeds of the plant is poisonous and could even lead to death.

If you ever experience harmful side effects from taking Gingko or interacting with other medications, ensure you see a doctor.

What Nootropics Are Similar To Ginkgo Biloba?

Some nootropics that are similar to Ginkgo Biloba include Bacopa Monnieri, Lion's Mane Mushroom, and Rhodiola Rosea.

Bacopa Monnieri is an herb that has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and attention span. It is believed to work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Lion's Mane Mushroom is a fungus that has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine. It is thought to improve cognitive function and memory by stimulating nerve growth factor production.

Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that is commonly used for stress relief. It is believed to work by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body. Rhodiola Rosea has also been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.

What Brain Supplements Can Ginkgo Biloba Be Stacked With?

The best way to stack Ginkgo Biloba is with other nootropics with complementary effects. For example, combining Ginkgo Biloba with a choline supplement can enhance the cognitive-boosting effects of both compounds.

Alpha GPC is known to be the most bioavailable form of choline and boosts acetylcholine levels (ACh) in the brain, which helps to improve memory and cognitive function. CDP Choline is another effective choline supplement that can be stacked with Ginkgo Biloba.

Racetams are a class of nootropics that are known for their cognitive-enhancing effects. The most popular racetams include Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam. Racetams work by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. When Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam are combined with Ginkgo Biloba, they can produce synergy effects that are greater than the sum of their parts.

You can also use a nootropic blend like NooCube, which contains 13 powerful nootropic ingredients that work together to support cognitive function, memory, and focus. NooCube also contains Alpha GPC and Bacopa Monnieri, which have similar effects to Ginkgo Biloba.

If you're looking for a complete nootropic stack that can help to support cognitive function, memory, and focus, then NooCube is the best option. It's a potent blend of 13 carefully selected nootropic ingredients that have been shown to be effective in clinical studies. Plus, it's backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.

You can find NooCube right here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your questions answered.

Is Gingko Biloba and Ginseng the Same?

These two herbs are very similar yet they do have multiple differences. A key difference many people notice is to do with the extracts. Both extracts of these plants derive from different parts. Ginseng extract comes from the roots, whereas Ginkgo Biloba extract is made from leaves and seeds.

What Are the Active Ingredients in Ginkgo Biloba?

The active ingredients in the extract are flavone glycosides and terpene lactones, however, Ginkgo Biloba extract is the active ingredient that is extracted from the ginkgo leaves themselves.

Is Ginkgo Biloba Safe?

Yes, Ginkgo Biloba is considered to be safe for most people. However, you should be aware of a few potential side effects. The most common side effects include stomach upset, headache, and dizziness.

How Effective Is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba has proven to be effective in improving cognitive functions and protecting the brain from damaging free radicals. It can also improve focus and memory, and help prevent early memory loss.

How Long Does It Take For Ginkgo Biloba To Work?

Ginkgo Biloba kicks in pretty quickly, with the effects being felt within an hour or two of taking it. However, it can take up to 4 weeks of regular use before the full benefits are realized.

How Does Ginkgo Biloba Make You Feel?

The effects of Ginkgo Biloba are subtle in the beginning but become more noticeable with time. It's not a stimulant, so you won't experience the jitters or crashes. Instead, you'll notice an increase in focus and concentration as well as improved memory recall.

What's The Half-Life Of Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba has a half-life of 4.5 hours, which means it takes about 4.5 hours for the body to break down and eliminate half of the compound.

What Are the Interactions of Ginkgo Biloba With Other Medications?

Ginkgo Biloba can interact with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin. If you are taking blood thinners, you should talk to your doctor before taking Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo Biloba can also interact with certain medications used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.


Gingko Biloba is a tree native to China, in which the leaves are extracted and used in supplements to treat problems such as memory loss and improve blood circulation, brain function, and overall heart health.

Full of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, it can alleviate stress and leave you feeling great. However, studies are still being done to work out its full range of benefits and uses. It’s safe to use when taken at the recommended dosage and has been used for centuries.

As with all pharmaceutical drugs, herbs, and nootropics, we would always recommend that you contact your doctor first, as they have a full list of your medical records and can understand your individual circumstances best.

They can also offer guidance on what may or may not be appropriate for you specifically and will have a wealth of knowledge about possible drug interactions.