Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) leaf contains flavonoids (e.g., quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetine) and several terpene trilactones (e.g., ginkgolides, bilobalide) as well as numerous minor components. Standardization is based on ginkgo flavone glycoside and terpenoid content. Raw ginkgo seeds contain potentially toxic cyanogenic glycosides and should not be used; roasted seeds do not carry this risk. Ginkgo has no specific uses during breastfeeding, but is commonly used as an antioxidant, a vasodilator to increase cerebral and peripheral perfusion, and to improve memory. No data exist on the safety and efficacy of ginkgo in nursing mothers or infants. In general, it is well tolerated, but occasionally minor symptoms (e.g., headache, nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, allergic skin rashes) occur in those taking the drug. Ginkgo has caused some cases of bleeding in healthy volunteers caused by its antiplatelet activity. Because there is no published experience with ginkgo during breastfeeding, an alternate therapy may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.
Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information