ginkgo biloba has potential benefits for improving brain health
Research into the benefits of ginkgo biloba – aka the maidenhair tree – for cognitive impairment gets better and better.
In a recent overview of 28 trials with 2,608 patients, published in the journal Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, ginkgo biloba was found to have potential benefits in improving cognitive functions, activities of daily living, and other aspects of cognition in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
“By improving blood flow to the brain, ginkgo extracts help to improve memory, concentration and thought processes,” explains GP and medical nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer. “Ginkgo extracts may also help cognitive function in healthy people by enhancing working and long-term memory, although it can take at least six weeks before noticeable improvements occur,” she adds.
What to look for in a supplement
Ginkgo is well tolerated by most people. As with most medications, it should be avoided during pregnancy. Seek medical advice before taking ginkgo if you are taking other medications. In particular, care should be taken if you are on blood-thinning treatment such as warfarin or aspirin. Do not combine with MAOI antidepressants.
Select extracts standardised to provide a known amount of ginkgolides: eg at least 24%. Clinical studies suggest the effective dose is 120mg taken in the morning.