In college, a few of my friends swore that ginkgo biloba was the reason they were doing so well in our program — they said it helped them remember things better and that it was easier for them to pay attention in class. I sort of wrote it off but a few years later there was a media explosion touting the benefits of the herbal supplement. Not only did it enhance memory, but there was speculation that it might slow down mental decline and prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.
Years ago it was shown that the supplement did nothing to prevent the progress of dementia and Alzheimer's. Now, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that ginkgo biloba doesn't do squat in terms of mental cognition either. It doesn't help boost memory, and there is no evidence that the popular supplement can slow down the mental aging process.
To date, the study is the largest of its kind in examining ginkgo biloba's effect on mental cognition. It took place over an eight-year period with a pool of 3,096 participants ranging in age from 72 to 96. Over the course of the study, the participants were given a placebo or ginkgo biloba pill twice a day and their mental faculties were tested every six months. In the end, researchers saw no difference between the two groups. They all performed worse as the years went by, and in some tests the placebo group fared better.
Researchers did say that taking ginkgo biloba doesn't seem to be harmful, but that it's simply ineffective. There's also no indication given on whether or not it might be beneficial if taken regularly at a young age. Given this new study, I'm even more dubious than I was previously — how about you? Do any of you take ginkgo biloba and believe it works?