Ginkgo Biloba for Vertigo
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Vertigo is a common problem that affects both men and women of all age groups. But women and people over the age of 65 are more likely to experience this condition compared to others. The use of ginkgo biloba for vertigo has been found beneficial in traditional medicine for centuries. But what research says? Let’s explore.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the effects of using ginkgo biloba for vertigo according to research findings. But before we get into how ginkgo biloba can help with vertigo, it’s important to learn the basics of vertigo a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is vertigo?
- Types of vertigo
- Symptoms of vertigo
- Causes of vertigo
- What is ginkgo biloba
- Benefits of ginkgo biloba for vertigo
- How to use ginkgo biloba supplements
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is a sensation in which a person feels that he or she or the environment around them, is spinning or moving in circles when actually they aren’t. It’s a symptom of varying health conditions, rather than a disorder itself.
Types of vertigo
There are two major types of vertigo, such as:
Peripheral vertigo: this is the most prevalent type of vertigo. It’s caused by issues with the inner ear or the vestibular nerve, the nerve that connects the inner ear with the brain and sends information related to balance, motion, and position.
Central vertigo: when there’s a problem in the brain, particularly in the area called the cerebellum, and results in a vertigo symptom. Possible causes may include stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, or infection.
Symptoms of vertigo
The principal symptom of vertigo is a false sensation in which the sufferer feels that he or she or the surroundings are spinning or moving. A severe sensation of spinning may also cause vomiting or nausea.
Depending on what’s causing it, other symptoms may include:
- Ringing sensation in the ears
- Loss of balance that may cause falls
- Difficulty focusing the eyes
- Hearing loss in both or one ear
When vertigo occurs because of issues in the brain (central vertigo), other symptoms may include:
- Double vision
- Facial paralysis
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- Problems with eye movements
- Weakness in limbs
Causes of vertigo
Possible causes of peripheral vertigo may include:
- Labyrinthitis or inner ear inflammation
- Vestibular neuronitis or vestibular nerve inflammation
- Meniere disease
- Benign positional vertigo (BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
- Certain types of medication such as antibiotics and diuretics that have toxic effects on the inner ear structure
Possible causes of central vertigo may include:
- Brain stroke
- A type of migraine headache called vestibular migraine
- Blood vessel disease that affects brain structure
- Brain tumors (cancerous and noncancerous)
- Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease in which the covering of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord gets damaged
- Certain drugs such as aspirin, alcohol, and anticonvulsants
What is ginkgo biloba?
Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest medicinal trees endemic to China. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of health conditions.
Ginkgo biloba leaves extract has been found useful in various health conditions ranging from various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease to cognitive dysfunction to reduced blood flow to the brain (cerebral vascular insufficiency) to macular degeneration.
Ginkgo biloba is used as a supplement in various forms such as capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts.
Benefits of ginkgo biloba for vertigo
Ginkgo biloba is loaded with natural antioxidants. More than 40 antioxidant phytochemicals have been identified so far and the most powerful among them are - flavonoids, terpenes, and polyphenols such as proanthocyanidins. All of these phytonutrients have been shown to have various pharmacological properties such as vasodilation, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.
As a potent vasodilator, ginkgo biloba has the capacity to improve blood flow to the brain and to the inner ear structure and therefore, can hugely help with vertigo induced by blocked or reduced blood flow.
The anti-inflammatory activities of ginkgo help reduce inflammation in the brain and ear. It can also protect nerve cells in the brain as well as vestibular nerves with its neuroprotective actions and thus, ginkgo biloba can help in both peripheral vertigo and central vertigo as well.
A 2014 multicenter clinical trial report in the International Journal of Otolaryngology revealed that ginkgo biloba extract is as effective as prescription medication betahistine but offers better safety and tolerability than betahistine.
How to use ginkgo biloba supplements
Doses of ginkgo biloba for vertigo are individual and vary from one person to another depending on the causative factors and severity of the symptoms. In general, doses range from 120 mg to 240 mg per day which are taken into two to three divided doses. To determine the exact dose, consider consulting with a naturopathic doctor.
Precautions and side effects
Ginkgo biloba is likely safe for most people when taken as recommended. Some people may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. But these are uncommon. Allergic reactions may also occur in some patients.
Besides, ginkgo biloba may badly interact with certain medications such as antidepressants and anticoagulants. People with vitamin K deficiency should seek the direct supervision of a certified doctor before starting ginkgo supplements.
Therefore, children, breastfeeding or pregnant women, or anyone who is on medications should not take ginkgo biloba supplements without asking the respective healthcare provider.
Ginkgo biloba is an ancient herbal medicine that can help with vertigo in several ways, specifically improving blood flow and reducing inflammation of nerve cells in the brain and inner ear. The benefits of ginkgo biloba for vertigo seem to come from its vasodilation, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Consider consulting with a naturopathic doctor prior to starting ginkgo biloba, especially if you’re on medications for any underlying health conditions.
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