Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women

Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Aug;37(4):530-47. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9316-2. Epub 2008 Feb 15.


Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) facilitates blood flow, influences nitric oxide systems, and has a relaxant effect on smooth muscle tissue. These processes are important to the sexual response in women and, hence, it is feasible that GBE may have a therapeutic effect. The present study was the first to provide an empirical examination of the effects of both short- and long-term GBE administration on subjective and physiological (vaginal photoplethysmography) measures of sexual function in women with Sexual Arousal Disorder. A single dose of 300 mg GBE had a small but significant facilitatory effect on physiological, but not subjective, sexual arousal compared to placebo in 99 sexually dysfunctional women. The long-term effects of GBE on sexual function were assessed in 68 sexually dysfunctional women who were randomly assigned to 8 weeks treatment of either (1) GBE (300 mg/daily), (2) placebo, (3) sex therapy which focused on training women to attend to genital sensations, or (4) sex therapy plus GBE. When combined with sex therapy, but not alone, long-term GBE treatment significantly increased sexual desire and contentment beyond placebo. Sex therapy alone significantly enhanced orgasm function compared with placebo. Long-term GBE administration did not significantly enhance arousal responses beyond placebo. It was concluded that (1) neither short- or long-term administration of GBE alone substantially impacts sexual function in women, (2) a substantial placebo effect on sexual function exists in women with sexual concerns, and (3) teaching women to focus on genital sensations during sex enhances certain aspects of women's sexual functioning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Long-Term Care
  • Photoplethysmography
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Sex Education
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Vagina / blood supply


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract