For decades, alternative health care practitioners have been hyping the long term benefits of ginkgo for maintaining good mental function and cognition. There are thousands of anecdotal reports from vendors of this herbal supplement that it has “magical” brain stimulating properties. Now there is a study that finds that all the hype about gingko is false -- the herb really does not slow down mental decline.
Led by Dr. Steven DeKosky from the University of Virginia, six major U.S. institutions looked at gingko supplements and showed no discernible differences in the herb versus a placebo, or sugar pill.
The researchers looked at the effects of gingko on several brain tasks including attention, memory, concentration, language and cognition. The results revealed that gingko did not make one iota of difference compared to the sugar pill in improving any single brain function. This is the largest and longest study spanning over a mean of 6 years which has looked at effects of gingko on the brain.
An earlier study led by the same team showed that ginkgo did zilch in preventing or delaying alzheimer’s dementia. In the present study, more than 3,000 elderly volunteers between the ages 72-96 participated.