Effectiveness of oral Ginkgo biloba in treating limited, slowly spreading vitiligo

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2003 May;28(3):285-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2230.2003.01207.x.


For effective treatment of vitiligo, it is as important to arrest the progression of the disease as it is to induce repigmentation. Recently, oxidative stress has been shown to play an important role in the pathogenesis of vitiligo. Ginkgo biloba extract has been shown to have antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, we evaluated the efficacy of G. biloba extract in controlling the activity of the disease process in patients with limited and slow-spreading vitiligo and in inducing repigmentation of vitiliginous areas. Fifty-two patients were assigned to two treatment groups (A and B) in a double-blind fashion, but only 47 patients could be evaluated, because one patient in group A and four patients in group B withdrew for reasons unrelated to the study. Patients in group A were given G. biloba extract 40 mg three times daily whereas patients in group B received placebo in similar doses. A statistically significant cessation of active progression of depigmentation was noted in patients treated with G. biloba (P = 0.006). Marked to complete repigmentation was seen in 10 patients in group A, whereas only two patients in group B showed similar repigmentation. The G. biloba extract was well tolerated. G. biloba extract seems to be a simple, safe and fairly effective therapy for arresting the progression of the disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*
  • Vitiligo / pathology


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts