Is Ginkgo Biloba a Natural Health Remedy for Vitiligo?

Viltiligo is a skin disorder where white patches appear on different parts of the body. The patches occur because the skin is unable to manufacture the pigment melanin in certain areas. The exact cause is unknown but some research has found that the natural remedy Ginkgo Biloba could help get rid of the patches or prevent the condition getting worse.

About 1 % of the population worldwide suffer with the condition. Although the late Michael Jackson was said to have suffered with vitiligo it is doubtful that he actually had the disorder. It seems more likely that he blamed it for the whiteness of his skin which reportedly was bleached. What he did do however was highlight the psychological problems that sufferers often have because of the disease.

What is the cause of vitiligo?

What prevents the melanocytes producing melanin, is a question that researchers have so far been unable to answer conclusively although a number of causes have been put forward. It is thought that a number of factors may be involved from auto-immune disease, low thyroid or overactive thyroid conditions, inflammatory and free radical damage, genetic and environmental factors.

Much of the research has taken place on Ginkgo Biloba over the past 10 years has been on its antioxidant effects. The research shows that the leaves contain two powerful antioxidants, flavonoids and terpenoids, that fight dangerous free radicals which damage cells and body tissues. It has also been discovered that it can have powerful effects on modulating the immune system.

Repigmentation with Ginkgo Biloba

In one study dermatologists from India gave Ginkgo Extract 40mg three times a day to 52 patients in a double blind placebo-controlled trial. This means that the participants could receive the real extract or another substance that would have no effect and neither the doctors nor the patients would know what they had received until the end of the trial. The study revealed that vitiligo was stopped in 80% of the group who received the Ginkgo and 40% experienced extensive repigmentation.

In a recent review of the natural remedies that had been used for the treatment of vitiligo only Ginkgo Biloba showed promise according to the researchers. A new study at the University of Toronto will be completed by November of this year.

Avoid cheap products

If you decide to try Ginkgo Biloba it is important to take a standardized extract that contains 24 % ginkgoflavonoglycosides to get the effects. There are many cheap ginkgo biloba products on the market that do not use standardized extract but they are likely to be ineffective. The dose is 40 mg of a standardized extract of the herb three times a day. But be aware that it has caused some gastric upset, headache and dizziness in a few people.

Nutritional solutions

There is also some evidence that an unusually high dose of Folic Acid 10 mg and 2000 mcg. of Methyl B12 together with a very nutritious diet may help restore pigmentation. The addition of B6, 1 gram Vitamin C daily, zinc and manganese, digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to ensure digestion and absorption of nutrients has helped in the improvement of vitiligo.

It can take up to three months to notice some improvement but it is likely to take up to 2 years for complete repigmentation to occur with continuous supplementation. So Ginkgo Biloba may be the first natural remedy to try for vitiligo.