Ginkgo Biloba does not prevent Alzheimer's

Christine Kennard Health Pro
  • Ginko biloba, a Chinese herb, has long been promoted as a drug that boosts memory and enhances concentration. Ginko can be bought over the counter at the pharmacy and from health shops and many people believe it can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.


    But yet again research, this time from France involving 2,854 people in a trial over five years, has shown no evidence of any positive preventative effect. The study, published in The Lancet Neurology journal says people taking the drug are just wasting their money.


    The ginkgo biloba extract used in this study derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree. It was given to 1,406 people and a further 1,414 were given a placebo. A placebo is an inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug. During the study the participants were given tests to access their memory and cognitive function.

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    The study participants were all aged 70 years or older and had all been to see their doctor with concerns about their memory. Over the five year study period 4% of the people in the study taking Ginko and 5% in the group taking a placebo pill were diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s. The results therefore showed no statistical significance between the two groups say scientists, headed by Bruno Vellas of the Hopital Casselardit in Toulouse.


    The research is yet another example of large scale studies showing no benefits with the herbal drug Ginko. In 2008 a study from five centers in the US also found little benefit.


    Satefy Issues and Alternartive Therapies

    If you are considering taking Ginko biloba or want to continue taking this drug then there are a few safety issues you should consider;
    Complementary and alternative therapies should only be used in addition to, not instead of, conventional medicine.
    You should see your doctor to make sure it is safe to use with other medications you are taking.
    Herbal preparations dosage and preparation may not be of a high standard and can contain impurities that may be harmful.


    Sharepost Source: Vellas, B. et al (2012). Long-term use of standardised ginkgo biloba extract for the prevention of alzheimer's disease (guidage): a randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet Neurology, doi: doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70206-5Cit

Published On: September 07, 2012