Last update July 3, 2022

Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

The leaves of the tree are used. It contains flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol...), tannins, terpene lactones (ginkgolides), steroids… Properties attributed to it in traditional medicine without solid scientific evidence: venotonic agent, capillary protector, cerebral vasodilator (neuroprotective) and platelet antiaggregant (McKenna 2001, WHO 1999). Indications from Commission E of the German Ministry of Health: cerebral insufficiency, intermittent claudication and vertigo (Blumenthal 1998). The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) accepts its use in cognitive impairment associated with age and in adult patients with mild dementia and in mild peripheral circulatory problems: leg heaviness, coldness of hands or feet. (EMA 2015)

Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

It has been classified as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. (Sarecka 2022, IARC 2016)

Due to the lack of published data on this plant in relation to breastfeeding (Sachs 2013) and as it may cause side effects (Sarecka 2022, Mei 2017, Roland 2012, Leistner 2010, Etheridge 2009, Tesch 2003), most medical associations and experts discourage it during breastfeeding. (the Royal Women's Hospital 2013, Amir 2011, Dugoua 2006, Wong 1998)

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba is also known as

Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba in other languages or writings:


Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba belongs to these groups or families:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Ginkgo. Ginkgo biloba in its composition:


  1. Sarecka-Hujar B, Szulc-Musioł B. Herbal Medicines-Are They Effective and Safe during Pregnancy? Pharmaceutics. 2022 Jan 12;14(1). pii: 171. Consulted on July 1, 2022 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  3. Mei N, Guo X, Ren Z, Kobayashi D, Wada K, Guo L. Review of Ginkgo biloba-induced toxicity, from experimental studies to human case reports. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. 2017 Jan 2;35(1):1-28. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. IARC - WHO. International Agency for research on Cancer. Some Drugs and Herbal Products. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 108. 2016 Full text (link to original source)
  5. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. EMA. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). European Union herbal monograph on Ginkgo biloba L., folium. 2015 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. The Royal Women’s Hospital Victoria Australia. Herbal and Traditional Medicines in Breasfeeding. Fact Sheet. 2013 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. Sachs HC; Committee On Drugs. The transfer of drugs and therapeutics into human breast milk: an update on selected topics. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep;132(3):e796-809. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  10. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  11. Roland PD, Nergård CS. [Ginkgo biloba--effect, adverse events and drug interaction]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2012 Abstract
  12. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  13. Leistner E, Drewke C. Ginkgo biloba and ginkgotoxin. J Nat Prod. 2010 Jan;73(1):86-92. Abstract
  14. Etheridge AS, Kroll DJ, Mathews JM. Inhibition of paclitaxel metabolism in vitro in human hepatocytes by Ginkgo biloba preparations. J Diet Suppl. 2009 Abstract
  15. Dugoua JJ, Mills E, Perri D, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Abstract
  16. Tesch BJ. Herbs commonly used by women: an evidence-based review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Abstract
  17. Drago F, Floriddia ML, Cro M, Giuffrida S. Pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of a Ginkgo biloba extract. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Abstract
  18. McKenna DJ, Jones K, Hughes K. Efficacy, safety, and use of ginkgo biloba in clinical and preclinical applications. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Abstract
  19. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  20. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume I. WHO monographs 1999 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  21. Wong AH, Smith M, Boon HS. Herbal remedies in psychiatric practice. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998 Abstract
  22. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998
  23. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  24. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract

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