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Ask Buck

High-Altitude Remedies

Only one herb has successfully passed the thin-air test: ginkgo biloba.

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Question:

Besides acclimatizing and drinking plenty of fluids, can I use herbs to prevent altitude sickness? Which herbs are best?

Submitted by – J. N., Redlands, California

Answer:

Three separate studies have found that the herb is effective at preventing altitude sickness or reducing its intensity. It certainly won’t work for every climber – people respond differently to herbs – but there’s evidence it will help some. If you choose to try it, take 120 milligrams of ginkgo bilboa twice a day for 5 days before and during your ascent.

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