Study: Ginkgo biloba for female sexual dysfunction caused by SSRI use

Sexual dysfunction is a well-known and unfortunate side-effect of antidepressant drug use. It includes the inability to become aroused, issues with erections or lubrication, and an inability to orgasm.

Studies on Ginkgo biloba
A study has shown that ginkgo in a dose of 209mg/day was effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. The cause was predominantly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Cohen & Bartlik (1998) found that in 63 test subjects, both male and female, the success rate was 91 per cent for women and 76 per cent for men, with improvements on all sexual responses. The sexual response cycle (desire, excitement (erection and lubrication), orgasm and resolution) saw improvements in all test subjects. This was an open trial, however the results are encouraging. Placebo usually accounts for around 25 per cent of positive trial responses, and this trial goes far beyond that.

Another study (Wheatley 2004) was more tightly controlled (triple-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial), and gave 24 people 240mg/day for 12 weeks. The test subjects were suffering sexual impairment caused by antidepressant drugs. There were some spectacular individual responses, but overall there was no statistically significant differences, and no difference in side effects.

Meston et al (2008) did two studies on women with sexual dysfunction. The first study used a single-dose, placebo controlled model using 300mg of Ginkgo, which produced a small, but significant facilitatory effect on physiological (but not subjective) sexual arousal in 99 women. The second research project gave 300mg/day over eight weeks. The researchers found that ginkgo combined with sex therapy significantly increased sexual desire and contentment compared to placebo, or just ginkgo.


Cohen AJ, Bartlik B, ‘Gingko biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction’, The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Issue 24, pages 139-143, 1998

Wheatley D, ‘Tripleblind, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba in sexual dysfunction due to antidepressant drugs’, Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, Volume 19, Issue 8, pages 545-548, 2004;jsessionid=89160DE6D075F41EFA3AC53BFD32BC77.f01t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

Meston CM, Rellini AH, Telch MJ, ‘Short- and Long-term Effects of Ginkgo Biloba Extract on Sexual Dysfunction in Women’, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Issue 37, pages 530-547, 2008



Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.