Due to its vasodilatory effects, ginkgo has been used in the management of sexual dysfunction in cases where compromised circulation is suspected. One open study has been conducted with subjects experiencing sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant use (Cohen & Bartlik 1998).
Ginkgo extract (average dose 209 mg/day) was found to be 84% effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, predominantly caused by SSRI, in a study of 63 subjects (Cohen & Bartlik 1998). A relative success rate of 91 % was observed for women compared with 76% for men and a positive effect was reported on all four phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (erection and lubrication), orgasm and resolution. Although this was an open trial, the results are encouraging when one considers the placebo effect is about 25% from past randomised trials of FDA-approved medications for erectile dysfunction (Moyad 2002).
More recently, a small triple-blind (investigator, patient, statistician), randomised, placebo-controlled, trial of G. biloba (240 mg/daily for 12 weeks) was undertaken with 24 subjects experiencing sexual impairment caused by antidepressant drugs (Wheatley 2004). The authors report some spectacular individual responses in both groups, but no statistically significant differences, and no differences in side-effects.
There is great interest in the application of safe substances, such as G. biloba, in Ginkgo biloba 535
neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease because of their
neuroprotective and mitochondrial protective effects. Currently, investigation with ginkgo is limited to animal studies of experimentally induced Parkinson's disease, which have shown it to afford some protection against neuronal loss (Ahmad et al 2005, Kim et al 2004).
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