Limited research suggests that Ginkgo Biloba Extract (GBE) is a possible treatment for hair loss. GBE is reportedly used in three hair products (FDA 2006). Kobayashi et al (1993) conducted a study to determine the effects of GBE in normal, pre-shaven mice. As GBE was shown to promote hair regrowth in these mice, they suggested that it could be used as a hair tonic in humans. In another in vivo study, Kim et al (1998) also found that GBE stimulated hair growth through discouraging programmed cell death in hair follicles.
GBE is known to have a positive influence on blood flow (Krieglstein, 1985; Mashayekh et a, 2011). Although hair follicles are not supplied by blood vessels, they are surrounded by blood vessels that have been thought to arise from the deep blood vessels in the skin (Durward and Rudall, 1958). When these vessels meet the nutritional needs of hair follicles during the anagen phase of rapid cell division, cyclic hair growth occurs (Yano et al, 2001). In addition, it has been previously suggested that impaired development of blood vessels surrounding the hair follicle plays a role in hair loss (Goldman et al, 1995). These findings suggest that GBE’s influence on circulation would in turn impact hair growth.
There have been reports of occasional adverse effects with excessive consumption of GBE (Skogh, 1998). Long term safety is not clear. In addition, data on GBE’s safety and efficacy in pattern hair loss has not been adequately and critically evaluated and documented in peer-reviewed clinical trials (Mysore, 2010). While laboratory studies on GBE have produced promising evidence, further studies are required to investigate its mechanism of action on human hair follicles. Large scale, well designed clinical trials are needed to substantiate claims of GBE’s efficacy (Patil et al, 2011).
- Durward, A., and Rudall, K.M. (1958), The Vascularity And Patterns Of Growth Of Hair Follicles. In The biology of hair growth. W. Montagna and R.A. Ellis, editors. Academic Press. New York, USA. Pp189–218.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Frequency of use of cosmetic ingredients. FDA database. FDA, Washington DC, 2006
- Goldman, C.K., Tsai, J.C., Soroceanu, L. and Gillespie, G.Y., Loss Of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor In Human Alopecia Hair Follicles, J Invest Dermatol. 1995; 104(Suppl. 1):18S–20S.
- Krieglstein, J., Beck, T. and Seibert, (1986). Influence Of An Extract Of Ginkgo biloba On Cerebral Blood Flow And Metabolism. Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Fachbereich Pharmazie und Lebensmittelchemie der Philipps-Universität, Ketzerbach 63, D-3550 Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany.
- Kobayashi, N., Suzuki, R., Koide, C., Suzuki, T., Matsuda, H. and Kubo M. (1993) Effect Of Leaves Of Ginkgo biloba On Hair Regrowth In C3H Strain Mice, Yakugaku Zasshi. 113(10):718-24. Japanese
- Mashayekh, A., Pham, D.L., Yousem, D.M., Dizon, M., Barker, P.B. and Lin, D.D., Effects Of Gingko biloba On Cerebral Blood Flow Assessed By Quantitative MR Perfusion Imaging: A Pilot Study. Neuro-radiology. 2011 Mar; 53(3):185-91.
- Mysore, V. Mesotherapy In Management Of Hair Loss- Is It Of Any Use? International Journal of Trichology. 2010; 2(1):45-46
- Patil, S.M., Sapkale, G.N., Surwase, U.S., Bhombe, B.T., Herbal Medicines As An Effective Therapy In Hair Loss- A Review. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences. 2011; 1(2):773-781.
- Skogh, M. Extracts of Ginkgo biloba And Bleeding Or Haemorrhage. Lancet 1998;352(9134): 1145-1146
- Yano K, Brown L.F., Detmar M. Control Of Hair Growth And Follicle Size By VEGF-Mediated Angiogenesis. J Clin Invest. 2001 Feb 15; 107(4):409–417.