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Ginkgo Biloba Can Help Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a disease caused by certain blood vessel disorders and nerve damages which leads to the perception of ringing, hissing, or other sound in the ears or head when no external sound is present.

There is conflicting research regarding the use of ginkgo for tinnitus. Traditional use and multiple small, poorly designed studies from the 1980s and 1990s report benefits. However, a well-designed recent study found no benefit. Additional well-designed research is needed in order to resolve this controversy.

The pharmacological profile of Ginkgo Biloba is complex. Its main constituents are ginkgolides and bilobalides, both terpenoids and a range of flavonoids. Ginkgo biloba has been shown to have anti-ischemic, anti-edema, anti-hypoxic, radical-scavenging and metabolic actions.

In addition, it increases disturbed microcirculatory blood flow through increasing the fluidity of blood. The virtual significance of these actions in the clinical effects of Ginkgo Biloba in tinnitus is uncertain at present. A common cause of the symptoms of tinnitus could be a deficiency of blood supply to the inner ear. It is imaginable that most of the above-mentioned pharmacological actions of Ginkgo Biloba contribute to its clinical effectiveness for this indication.

A team of 10 French ENT specialists conducted a trial with two parallel groups with103 tinnitus patients included. Patients were excluded if they had had infections or surgery or had suffered from acute diseases of the ears. Patients were treated with 4 ml of a Ginkgo Biloba extract per day for 1-3 months or with a placebo.

Therapeutic success was evaluated by a severity score of tinnitus symptoms. The results suggest that the Ginkgo Biloba treated group experienced greater and faster improvement of symptoms.

Morgenstern and Bierman published a trial including 99 patients with chronic tinnitus. All patients were initially treated with 3 x 1 placebo tablets per day for 2 weeks. Subsequently they were randomized to receive either active medication (3 x 40 mg Ginkgo Biloba extract) or placebo for 12 weeks.

The eudiometry determined loudness of the tinnitus in the worse affected ear was the primary endpoint. The results show that the loudness of sounds was on average reduced significantly more in the actively treated group compared to placebo.

The studies were also heterogeneous in other respects apart from methods and dosages. Endpoints included a rating from the patient of severity of tinnitus or preferred treatment, an evaluation from a specialist and the loudness of tinnitus measured by an audiometer. Four different Ginkgo Biloba products were used, taken as either tablets, drops or by injection and daily doses were different in each trial.

Patients in all trials were described as having chronic or persistent tinnitus but few studies defined criteria for inclusion. The cause or source of tinnitus may have differed within studies as well as between them. The duration of treatment also varied between trials.

No matter what the dosages have been or the duration of the treatment; the results were more or less the same. Tinnitus has been greatly reduced if not even cured completely with Ginkgo Biloba extracts.