Can Ginkgo biloba prevent memory loss and improve cognitive function?

Answers from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.

Ginkgo biloba, derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, is often touted as a memory aid. But it appears unlikely that Ginkgo biloba can prevent age-related memory problems or memory loss associated with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.

A number of small, early studies showed modest improvements in cognitive function for older adults with dementia. However, a number of larger studies haven't been able to confirm that Ginkgo biloba prevents memory loss or slows the progression of cognitive decline or Alzheimer's disease in older adults.

Although several more-recent studies have found slight improvements in cognitive function for people taking Ginkgo biloba, most experts feel that Ginkgo biloba hasn't lived up to its early promise and don't recommend its use as a memory aid.

Jun. 06, 2014 See more Expert Answers