Recently, Ginkgo biloba, one of the most commonly used herbs and dietary supplements in the world, came under fire from the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) has asked the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to give the supplement industry 30 days to remove all Ginkgo products from their shelves.
Why, after so many years of safe and effective use, would a group demand that this herb be banned from public access? Well, according tot he CSPI, Ginkgo may be causing cancer in laboratory animals, and therefore could pose a danger to human beings also. This could not be a more obvious hit piece against Ginkgo biloba.
First of all, for those that don’t know, Ginkgo is used commonly throughout the world, but you probably have heard of it as being used to improve memory and fight against Alzheimer’s and similar cognitive diseases. The reasoning behind this is that Ginkgo thins the blood and improves circulation, thus allowing more blood to flow to the brain and extremities. For this reason, Ginkgo should not be combined with blood-thinning pharmaceutical drugs, but can be safely consumed by most other individuals.
Here is a quick run down of Ginkgo, from Herbal Ed Smith’s Therapeutic Herb Manual, a book I would recommend to everyone: http://www.herbaled.org/THM/Singles/single_fs.html
“Actions: Circulatory system tonic (especially extremities, head and brain); optimizes brain cell metabolism; increases memory and learning capacity. PAF antagonist. Antioxidant. Valuable tonic for the aged.
Uses: Poor circulation in head and brain; memory loss, poor concentration and poor mental performance; Alzheimer’s disease; dizziness and vertigo; degenerative eye disease; chronic inflammation in ears, and tinnitus (“ringing in ears”). Cold hands and feet; intermittent claudication and Raynaud’s disease; varicose veins, leg ulcers and hemorrhoids. Male erectile dysfunction due to poor circulation. Asthma.
Dose: Take 30 to 40 drops, 3 to 5 times per day.
Cautions: Discontinue or lower dosage if headache occurs.”
Anyway, all you need to know is that this study is tremendously misleading, biased, and manipulated. First of all, the Shanghai Ginkgo extract which is used in this study, is not even the same kind of Ginkgo biloba that is used in the supplement industry (this point is highlighted by Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council). The second problem with this study is that the animals are also being fed “solutions containing Ginkgo biloba extract in corn oil through a tube directly into the stomach of male and female rats and mice five times a week for two years”. I have added emphasis due to the fact that we have strong evidence that genetically modified corn causes cancer. See the most recent study below, but this has been going on for roughly twenty years. More and more research is coming out all the time about the connection between GMO crops and increases in diseases. Bottom line, this study was designed to fail in order to demonize Ginkgo biloba and attack the dietary supplement industry.
We can no longer allow the FDA to collude with industries like Big Pharma/Biotech/Chemical. We have for too long allowed a monopoly of health care in this country, it is time to fight back. I will continue to take Ginkgo biloba and products which contain Ginkgo biloba. Better yet, I will just order some bulk organic Ginkgo herb and make my own products!
The Ginkgo Study
GMO Maize and Soy Study on Pigs
FDA Urged to Prohibit Sale of Ginkgo in Wake of Cancer Study – CSPI
Ginkgo Ban Call Uncalled For – Natural Product Insider