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Ginkgo biloba products

Composition of Gingko biloba products

2 October 2009

Ginkgo biloba (the Maidenhair tree) is a deciduous tree native to China, Korea and Japan. Ginkgo leaves and seeds have a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for a range of conditions. Ginkgo is one of the most widely used herbal medicines in Europe and the United States of America.

There are currently more than 400 products that contain Ginkgo on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). These are listed medicines and are commonly indicated for stimulating blood circulation.

The TGA has recently conducted testing on twenty-two (22) batches of medicines, covering twenty (20) products, and a number of associated Ginkgo extract raw materials. The testing focused on determining the quality of the Ginkgo extract used in the formulation of the medicines.

In some of the samples tested, elevated levels of quercetin and rutin were noted. These are naturally occurring components found in Ginkgo and many other plants. Variation in the content of these components may occur due to natural variation in the plants or the processing and storage of the herbal material.

The TGA is currently working with its expert advisory committees and the complementary medicine industry associations to refine the quality standards for Ginkgo extracts used in medicines available in Australia.