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9.3) Treating Tinnitus: gingko biloba


This article is from the Tinnitus FAQ, by markb@cccd.edu (Mark Bixby) with numerous contributions by others.

9.3) Treating Tinnitus: gingko biloba

Gingko biloba leaves have been used therapeutically by the Chinese for
centuries for the treatment of asthma and bronchitis. In western
countries a standardized 50:1 concentrate of 24% gingko
flavoglycosides is used, either in liquid or capsule form. Gingko has
been shown to increase circulation throughout the body and the brain.

The article "Ginkgo biloba", The Lancet, Vol 340, Nov 7, 1992, pp.
1136-1139, examines numerous studies on the efficacy of ginkgo on
intermittent claudication (pain while walking), and cerebral
insufficiency, a wide collection of vascular impairment symptoms
including tinnitus. Typical dosages range from 120-160mg per day,
divided equally at meal time.

Most studies showed that between 30-70% of subjects had reduced
symptoms over a 6-12 week period. No serious side effects were
observed, and any minor side effects were not statistically
significant compared to subjects treated only with placebo.

Other references on gingko biloba:

As to tinnitus, Hobbs in reference (1) says:

For example, in 1986 a study statistically proved the effectiveness of
treatment with ginkgo extract for tinnitus: the ringing completely
disappeared in 35% of the patients tested, with a distinct improvement
in as little as 70 days!(2)

Similarly, when 350 patients with hearing defects due to old age were
treated with ginkgo extract, the success rate was 82%. Furthermore, a
follow-up study of 137 of the original group of elderly patients 5
years later revealed that 67% still had better hearing(3).


1.) Ginkgo Elixir of Youth; Christopher Hobbs; Botanica Press, Box
742, Capitola, CA 95010; 1991; pages 50-51

2.) Tinnitus-multicenter study. A multicentric study of the ear;
Meyer, B.; 1980; Ann. Oto-Laryng. (Paris) 103:185-8

3.) Tebonin-therapy with old hard-of-hearing people. Koeppel, F. W.;
1980; Therapiewoche 30: 6443-46

Here's an abstract of a recent paper in Audiology:

Holgers KM; Axelsson A; Pringle I
Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of tinnitus.
Department of Audiology, Sahlgren's Hospital, Goteborg,
Language: Eng
Source: Audiology 1994 Mar-Apr;33(2):85-92
Unique Identifier: 94234927


Previous studies have shown contradictory results of Ginkgo
biloba extract (GBE) treatment of tinnitus. The present
study was divided into two parts: first an open part,
without placebo control (n = 80), followed by a double-blind
placebo-controlled study (n = 20). The patients included in
the open study were patients who had been referred to the
Department of Audiology, Sahlgren's Hospital, Goteborg,
Sweden, due to persistent severe tinnitus. Patients
reporting a positive effect on tinnitus in the open study
were included in the double-blind placebo-controlled study
(20 out of 21 patients participated). 7 patients preferred
GBE to placebo, 7 placebo to GBE and 6 patients had no
preference. Statistical group analysis gives no support to
the hypothesis that GBE has any effect on tinnitus, although
it is possible that GBE has an effect on some patients due
to several reasons, e.g. the diverse etiology of tinnitus.
Since there is no objective method to measure the symptom,
the search for an effective drug can only be made on an
individual basis.

And still another abstract:

I searched the medline for your using PHYSICIANS ON LINE
software, from 1988 to present obtained the following:

Remacle J, Houbion A, Alexandre I, Michiels C

[Behavior of human endothelial cells in hyperoxia and
hypoxia: effect of Ginkor Fort]

Laboratoire de Biochimie Cellulaire, Facultes Universitaires
N.D. de la Paix, Namur, Belgique.

Phlebologie 1990 Apr-Jun;43(2):375-86

Article Number: UI91046351


Recent discoveries have shown that venous diseases have a
multifactorial etiology. One of the factors which is
definitely involved in this pathologic process is the change
in the concentration of oxygen. An increase in the
concentration of oxygen, hyperoxia, or reoxygenation
following hypoxia, damages the tissues by stepping up the
production of free radicals. In addition, a reduction in
oxygen concentration, or hypoxia, is also damaging, probably
through a reduction in ATP synthesis. From a therapeutic
standpoint, the veins, and more particularly the
endothelium, must be protected against the impact on the
tissue of these changes in oxygen concentration. In this
study, the effects of Ginkor Fort were tested on cultured
endothelial cells subjected to varying oxygen pressures. The
results show that Ginkor Fort can provide good protection of
endothelial cells against hyperoxia and
hypoxia-reoxygenation. These beneficial effects are probably
due to the presence of flavonoids in the **Ginko** biloba
extract; these flavonoids have an anti-oxidant effect. In
addition, this substance also protects the cells against
hypoxia, possibly by increasing the availability of oxygen
for ATP synthesis. This dual protective effect, which is
produced by two different mechanisms, may account for the
wide spectrum of Ginkor Fort in its use in venous diseases.

Despite the above quotes, one prominent American tinnitus specialist
says that gingko does no better in rigorous scientific studies than a
placebo effect of 5%.


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