What is the Difference Between Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba

The main difference between ginseng and ginkgo biloba is that ginseng contains ginsenosides and panaxans whereas ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids.

Ginseng and ginkgo biloba are two popular medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are plants that contain therapeutic substances or precursors for useful drugs. Many cultures have used medicinal plants to treat illnesses since ancient times, and they are still widely in use today. Compared to chemical treatments, medicinal herbs are considered safer and have no side effects, as they are part of nature. They are available all over the world, including in Africa, China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Medicinal plants treat illnesses rather than prevent them and have various other uses, such as in food, perfume, and spiritual practices. The use of medicinal plants has increased due to factors like the unavailability or inadequate amounts of drugs, the high cost of treatments, the rise in population, and the side effects and resistance of currently available drugs.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Ginseng
     – Definition, Chemical Compounds, Extracts 
2. What is Ginkgo Biloba
     – Definition, Chemical Compounds, Extracts
3. Difference Between Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba

Difference Between Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba - Comparison Summary

What is Ginseng

Ginseng is a medicinal herb that contains antioxidants. It also acts as an adaptogen. Ginseng has a light-colored fork-shaped root, oval-shaped leaves, and a long stalk. There are 11 different varieties of Ginseng plants. The varieties contain ginsenosides in different amounts. It’s important to know that the term ginseng refers to both American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian or Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng).

Compare Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba - What's the difference?

Ginseng has several beneficial health effects. It helps to stimulate the mental and physical activities of weak people. It also reduces cancer-related fatigue in cancer patients. Additionally, it reduces oxidative stress, increasing one’s cognitive functions. Studies show that cognition helps in improving the functioning of the frontal brain lobe. Moreover, ginseng is associated with the reduction of inflammation. It helps to treat erectile dysfunction as well, improving overall sexual activity. Another medicinal use of the ginseng plant is the lowering of blood sugar levels in the body.

What is Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a medicinal plant with fan-shaped leaves. It is native to China, Japan, and Korea. But it is now grown in the United States, as well. It is said to be one of the oldest living plants in the world. It acts as an antioxidant. In fact, the plant has many different medicinal uses. In fact, ginkgo biloba can treat conditions like anxiety, hearing loss, stroke, schizophrenia, and dizziness.

Ginseng vs Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo leaf extract taken by mouth relieves breast tenderness and other functions associated with premenstrual syndrome. Some research studies have also shown that ginkgo biloba is effective for illnesses such as heart disease, sexual problems, a decline in memory and thinking ability, high blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis. Though Gingko biloba is an effective treatment for certain illnesses, there are a few side effects of the plant. These can include allergic skin reactions, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, digestive problems,  muscle weakness, and nausea. It may also interact with medicines like certain antidepressants and anticoagulants.

Difference Between Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba


Ginseng is a herb with a root that is used in some cultures to treat certain medical problems, while ginkgo biloba is a medicinal product made from the leaves of the ginkgo tree.


Ginseng extracts come from the roots, whereas ginkgo biloba extract is made from leaves and seeds.

Chemical Compounds

While ginseng contains ginsenosides and panaxans, ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids.

Side Effects

Ginseng does not cause heavy side effects even if the dosage level increases than the prescribed level, but ginkgo biloba causes various side effects, such as allergic skin reactions, dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea.


There are many types of medicinal plants used all across the world, and ginseng and ginkgo biloba are two of them. The main difference between ginseng and ginkgo biloba is that ginseng contains ginsenosides and panaxans whereas ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids.


1. “Health benefits of Gingko biloba.” Medical News Today.
2. R. Morgan Griffin. “Ginseng.” WebMD.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Ginseng harvest” By Forest Farming (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Ginkgo biloba leaves 3” By James St. John (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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