Ginkgo biloba not effective for tinnitus.




Amer J Clin Nutr

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Tinnitus is often referred to as "ringing in the ears." It is essentially the perception of a sound when no external sound is actually present. It has been described as a ringing, whistling, hissing, roaring, clicking, or chirping sound and can be either intermittent or constant. It has been reported that over 50 million people in the United States experience some form of tinnitus with 4% of these patients having it so severe that they cannot function on a day-to-day basis.1 Tinnitus can occur for numerous reasons and thus it is unlikely that any single pharmacological agent would be effective for all types of tinnitus.2 Gingko biloba has been evaluated as a herbal remedy for tinnitus. The results of the studies to date are inconclusive due to the number of patients evaluated and scientific design, among other reasons. Some studies have demonstrated a benefit with using gingko biloba3,4, others have demonstrated inconclusive results.5
In the largest trial of ginkgo for treatment of tinnitus to date, researchers found that there was no difference in symptoms between the treatment and placebo groups. Five hundred and fifty-nine patients were treated with 150mg ginkgo extract daily for 12 weeks and 562 received a placebo. Study participants assessed their tinnitus before, during, and after treatment. It was determined that there were no significant differences in outcome measures between the groups, leading investigators to conclude that Ginkgo biloba extract at a dose of 150mg daily is no more effective than placebo in treating tinnitus.6


1. American Tinnitus Association. About tinnitus. Available at: Accessed October 22, 2001.
2. Drew S, Davies E. Effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in treating tinnitus: double blind, placebo controlled trial. BMJ. 13 Jan 2001;322(7278):73.
3. Meyer B. [Multicenter randomized double-blind drug vs. placebo study of the treatment of tinnitus with Ginkgo biloba extract]. Presse Med. 25 Sep 1986;15(31):1562-4. French.
4. Cano Cuenca B, Marco Algarra J, Perez del Valle B, Pellicer Pascual FJ. [The effect of gingko biloba on cochleovestibulary pathology of vascular origin]. An Otorrinolaringol Ibero Am. 1995;22(6):619-29. Spanish.
5. Ernst E, Stevinson C. Ginkgo biloba for tinnitus: a review. Clin Otolaryngol. 1999; 24: 164-167.
6. Drew, S, Davies E. Effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in treating tinnitus: double blind, placebo controlled trial. Amer J Clin Nutr. Jan 2001;73:225-231.