These results show that some brands of ginkgo contain virtually zero lead, while others are heavily contaminated with lead, a toxic heavy metal linked to cancer, bone disorders and impaired brain function in children (among other side effects).
Ginkgo herbs imported from China heavily contaminated with lead
ICP-MS testing at our labs showed that Ginkgo Biloba herbs imported from China and sold by the bulk herbal company Starwest Botanicals (1) contained over 5 ppm lead, a shockingly high number that's ten times higher than the lead we've found in rice protein products. This level of lead contamination rates an "F" at www.LowHeavyMetalsVerified.org
Because Starwest is such a reputable supplier of quality products, it is my hope the company will conduct more in-house testing of the products they sell and reject herbs which are heavily contaminated with lead and other toxic metals. They may want to rate their herbal products using the system I've published at www.LowHeavyMetalsVerified.org
At the same time, Ginkbo Biloba herbal supplements sold by the Gaia Herbs company (2) and grown in the USA showed almost zero lead. I've tested many products from Gaia Herbs and so far they've all been remarkably free of heavy metals.
Standardized Ginkgo Biloba supplements purchased at the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas also showed virtually zero lead contamination. This is good news, considering that other products sold by Whole Foods, including rice protein products, are consistently contaminated with toxic heavy metals.
Ginkgo supplements offered under the brand names Nutrigold, Nature's Bounty and Swanson also showed very little lead in our testing, while Ginkgo leaf products from Frontier and Ginkgo Biloba supplements from NOW Foods showed significantly higher concentrations of lead. Keep in mind that we can only speak to the lot numbers we tested, and other lots may vary significantly from the lots we purchased.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal linked to cancer, brain damage, bone damage and more
Lead is toxic to human biology and the science on the harmful effects of lead is irrefutable: lead causes lowered IQs in children, bone disorders, cognitive decline in adults and even contributes to cancer. Click here to learn more about lead contamination.
The fact that such high levels of lead are found in an herbal product which many people take to enhance their cognitive function is downright alarming. Even if the Ginkgo Biloba herb does function as promised, the accumulation of lead in the body may cause precisely the opposite effect intended by those taking the herb. Lead can diminish brain function and literally make you cognitively impaired.
How much ginkgo would you have to take to cause a problem? Consider this: California Prop. 65 limits daily lead intake to just 0.5 micrograms from any one dietary supplement. If you took just one gram of ginkgo lead containing 5 ppm lead, you would ingest over 1,000% more lead than allowed per day under Prop 65. For someone taking contaminated herbs on a daily basis, the total intake of lead over a month or a year can be extremely alarming and possibly very harmful to their health.
How does lead get into Ginkgo herbs?
Lead appears in ginkgo herbs because of industrial contamination of soils and irrigation water used to grow ginkgo herbs in countries like China. Ginkgo, like many other herbs, absorbs lead and other heavy metals during plant growth. When soils are contaminated from industrial fallout or contaminated irrigation water, that contamination inevitably ends up in the plants grown in those soils.
In a nutshell, no. Ginkgo Biloba is a very effective herb, but you need to make sure the ginkgo you're taking is clean. I support clean herbal supplements and have written about their benefits for years. Here are some tips for getting clean herbs:
Tip #1) Subscribe to my email newsletter (below) and you'll receive daily email alerts with breaking news on herbs and superfoods found to be either clean or contaminated with heavy metals.
Tip #2) Check the lab results at the Natural News Forensic Food Labs and see what our tests have discovered. We publish these results for free, in the public interest, to help enhance food safety and public awareness.
Tip #3) Ask the manufacturer! To find out how much lead is in a product you've purchased, call the manufacturer and give them the lot number printed on the product. They should be able to tell you the heavy metals testing results for each lot number. (Under FDA regulations, they are required to have heavy metals tests on file for each production lot, although there are no FDA limits regarding how high levels metals are allowed to be in products other than children's candy.)
If the manufacturer can't tell you the heavy metals levels found in their products, that's a huge red warning flag that you should probably stop buying products from that company. After all, if they aren't testing their own products, how can they possibly know what's in them? (And isn't it highly irresponsible to sell products to the public without testing them yourself first?)
Keep watching Natural News for more heavy metals testing results on popular foods, superfoods, herbal supplements and more.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.