December 2019

Is Your Ginkgo Supplement Tainted?

Ginkgo is one of the top 25 selling herbal supplements in the US. As popular as it is, it’s also very commonly adulterated.

A recent study shows that ginkgo products produced by lower quality manufacturers are commonly adulterated with both rutin and quercetin. These chemicals both occur naturally in ginkgo, so adding them to ginkgo products makes the products much cheaper to produce while still appearing high quality to consumers and in some tests. Of the 35 analyzed gingko supplements, 33 contained low levels of ginkgo and/or high levels of rutin and quercetin. While products adulterated with rutin and quercetin shouldn’t pose major safety concerns, there isn’t evidence supporting their effectiveness for many of the common uses for ginkgo, including brain health and blood circulation.

If your patients are interested in taking a ginkgo supplement, tell them to stick to products verified by a third party like USP. Also, remind patients that herbal combination products, particularly those manufactured overseas, are frequently tainted with drugs and heavy metals.

Check out our ginkgo monograph to view a list of USP verified products.

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