The herb ginko biloba has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has been used to improve circulation (blood flow) and memory, and to treat tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo (dizziness). A recent review of previously published studies reported that ginko biloba decreases symptoms associated with a condition called intermittent claudication. Intermittent claudication is cramping or pain in the legs while walking that is caused by an inadequate oxygen supply to the leg muscles. Arteriosclerosis (hardening) of the blood vessels in the legs can decrease oxygen supply to the muscles and cause intermittent claudication.
Nine studies, comprised of 619 patients were reviewed. Most studies compared standardized ginko biloba extract EGb 761 in doses of 120-160 mg per day to placebo. The patients were followed for 6-24 weeks. Those who took ginko biloba had significantly longer pain-free walking distances than the patients taking placebo. Ginko biloba is usually well tolerated; however, it may cause nausea and abdominal complaints.