Can Ginkgo Biloba Improve Memory?

January 18, 2008

I am always asked this question whether there is a vitamin or supplement to improve memory.  There are alreay several claims of ginkgo biloba being a “great” memory enhancer but so far I havent come across a study that says it does.

Ginkgo herbs and supplements are actually derived from the tree leaves and is being marketed in supermarkets everywhere.  Again just like any herbal preparations, it should be taken at your own risk because I dont see any clinical indication in medicine to provide herbal supplements or medications that do not have studies to support any claims.

Medscape Endocrinology Online recently published an article on Gingko which I want to share:

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Studies in the United States have found that ginkgo stabilized — and in some cases improved — cognitive function and socialization in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, although the clinical significance of the improvement was not known. LeBars and colleagues reviewed 2020 patients in an intention-to-treat analysis that resulted in a 1.4-point advantage over placebo in the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale.

In addition, studies have also demonstrated that the standardized extract of ginkgo biloba (EgB) 761, is effective in reducing symptoms of claudication, giving patients a 50% increase in pain-free walking distance.

In contrast, a recent clinical trial failed to demonstrate any improvement in cognitive function or in the quality of life in cognitively intact, older individuals.

Ginkgo leaves have been associated with mild gastrointestinal side effects and headache. Ingestion of ginkgo seeds may result in serious neurologic and allergic reactions; therefore, they are not used for medical purposes. Ingestion of leaf-based extracts has been associated with a spontaneous hyphema (blood in the anterior chamber of the eye) in an elderly man, and with spontaneous subdural hematomas.

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Whether this supplement will have a place in the therapeutic armamentarium of Alzheimer’s disease or conditions that lead to poor memory remains to be seen.  For now… it is best to ask for advice from your doctors before you take any herbal preparations because they may interact with some drugs that you are taking for your medical condition.

So my recommendtion to those who wish to take ginkgo to enhance their memory for purposes of taking a supplement…I would say NO!  To those who wish to take ginkgo to improve their memory for test taking skills… my advise is: better study more than depend on pills!

In short… no study yet has been done to support an indication of ginkgo as a treatment option. More studies need to be done to prove it works and that its benefits outweigh the risks.

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2 Responses to “Can Ginkgo Biloba Improve Memory?”


  1. […] bookmarks tagged placebo Can Ginkgo Biloba Improve Memory? saved by 1 others     sitiyzal bookmarked on 01/19/08 | […]


  2. Hey, i know how it is to have a problem like this. I’ve struggling from it since a few years with the normal ups and downs so i truly know its not fun when you have a illness like this. At a website i found out some people were pretty satisfied about a remedie they got from the net and i ordered it when i found those pills at – herbalhealingstore dot com -. So you see, those pills do work, you just have to get the good ones!


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