The following report is done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ginkgo biloba, commonly called ginkgo, is a botanical—a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, and/or therapeutic properties. The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world, and ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Ginkgo extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Today, people use ginkgo leaf extracts hoping to improve memory; to treat or help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia; to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries); and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, and other health conditions. In the United States, ginkgo is sold as a dietary supplement.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive twice-daily doses of either 120 milligrams of ginkgo extract or an identical appearing placebo. The 240 milligrams daily dose of ginkgo was selected based on prior clinical study outcomes and a literature review of clinical trials that found 240 milligrams to be the most effective dose.
Researchers found that:
- In this study, ginkgo at 120 milligrams twice a day was neither effective in lowering the overall incidence rate of dementia nor Alzheimer's disease incidence in normal elderly or elderly people with mild cognitive impairment.
- The study experience does demonstrate the feasibility of conducting large dementia prevention trials in older adults.
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