Taking gingko biloba supplements does not improve memory, attention or problem solving in healthy individuals, according to researchers from the University of Hertfordshire.
The paper, published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, is the first meta-analytic review examining the effects of gingko biloba on healthy people across all age groups. The researchers led by Professor Keith Laws found zero impact on the cognitive functions whatever the age of the people, the dose taken or the length of time of taking gingko biloba supplements.
Gingko biloba, the oldest tree living species, has been used extensively in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the most widely used plant-based products available without prescription in Europe and North America, where is it marketed as a dietary supplement to treat blood disorders and, more specifically, to enhance memory both for healthy individuals and also for those trying to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Keith Laws, Professor of psychology, said: “Gingko biloba has been widely used for a number of years to reduce the mental decline associated with aging. But more recently it has been marketed as a memory enhancing supplement for healthy individuals—and it is crucial to establish the validity for such claims.
“Our findings show that taking gingko biloba supplements at any age to boost memory have no impact at all—and may be a waste of time and money.”
The paper, “Is Gingko Biloba a cognitive enhancer in healthy individuals? A meta-analysis,” examines the published research of thirteen randomised control trials of more than 1,000 healthy individuals across all ages.
Other recently published studies have also shown that there is no evidence to support taking gingko biloba supplements to protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease.