The herb Ginkgo biloba does not reduce the progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study.
The six-year US study recruited 3,069 community volunteers aged over 75. Of these, 2,587 had normal cognition and 482 had mild cognitive impairment.
Participants were assessed every six months for dementia and randomised to receive either a twice-daily dose of Ginkgo biloba extract or placebo.
Researchers found of the 523 participants were diagnosed with dementia, 246 were in the placebo group and 277 were in the Ginkgo biloba group.
Of the total dementia cases, 92% were classified as probable Alzheimer’s Disease patients, or AD with evidence of vascular disease of the brain.
The rate of total dementia and Alzheimer-type dementia did not differ between the placebo and G. biloba groups, and it also had no effect on rate of progression to dementia in participants with mild cognitive impairment.
‘Based on the results of this trial, Ginkgo biloba cannot be recommended for the purpose of preventing dementia,’ authors wrote.
Journal of the American Medical Association (2008) 300:2253-2262