Ginkgo and Alzheimer’s

by Paul Bergner

Medical Herbalism 7(1-2):25

For almost a decade, medical researchers have suggested hopefully that Ginkgo biloba extracts might be helpful for Alzheimer’s disease patients. Now in this 1994 clinical trial, researchers gave 80 mg of ginkgo extract or a placebo to a group of forty patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Memory, attention, and other parameters of dementia improved by the end of one month in the placebo group, and continued improving for the three months of the study.

This trial raises hope for improvement in Alzheimer’s patients, but by no means demonstrates that ginkgo is a “cure” for Alzheimer’s or would be effective in later stage disease. Patients rarely have a single disease entity that neatly fits diagnostic categories, and subjects could have been suffering from both Alzheimer’s and other pathologies. The ginkgo could have symptomatically improved the picture without actually affecting the process or the progress of the Alzheimer’s-type pathology. The researchers used double the normal dose of ginkgo, and no side effects were reported.
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner  

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