Standard Ginkgo Extracts are Safe, Says ABC

May 6, 2013

The American Botanical Council responds to widely publicized rodent toxicity studies on ginkgo.

A series of Ginkgo biloba toxicology studies published by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) may confuse consumers over the safety of Ginkgo biloba for human consumption, says the American Botanical Council (ABC; Austin, TX).

The NTP’s animal studies concluded that mice and rats were likely to develop cancers after consuming a Ginkgo biloba extract supplied by Shanghai Xing Ling Science and Technology Pharmaceutical Co. News groups including CSPI are now informing readers that Ginkgo biloba may come with a cancer risk, despite the fact that these rodents were administered with obscenely high dosage levels-as much as 55–108 times higher than levels established for normal human consumption.

Among other questionable details of the study, ABC adds that Shanghai Xing Ling’s extract probably doesn’t even conform to global standards for Ginkgo biloba. In February, the educational group voiced its concern in submitted comments on the NTP draft:

 

…based on chemical profiles noted in the draft NTP report…we have strong reason to believe that this particular Ginkgo biloba extract produced by this company and utilized by the National Toxicology Program for its rodent toxicology and carcinogenesis testing is not characteristic of other GBE material produced in China and available to manufacturers of dietary supplements in the U.S.

 

ABC petitioned the NTP to characterize the extract more specifically as Shanghai Chinese Ginkgo biloba extract, but to no avail. The educational group is communicating with numerous media outlets to make the distinction known.

UPDATE: The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) also filed comments with the NTP, requesting that a final report characterize Shanghai Xing Ling’s extract with the word specific. The request was not ignored. Those who are interested can view a full breakdown of the chemical composition of the NTP ginkgo extract, courtesy of AHPA.