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

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

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, One University Station A8000, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


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.

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