Electroencephalograph effects of single doses of Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng in healthy young volunteers

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):701-9. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00120-5.


Both Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng exert a number of physiological effects and have been shown to modulate aspects of cognitive performance. Whilst a number of studies have examined ginkgo's effects on electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings, to date, none have investigated the EEG effects of ginseng. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover experiment, the effects of single doses of G. biloba (360 mg GK501), P. ginseng (200 mg G115), and an identical placebo, on auditory-evoked potentials, contingent negative variation (CNV), and resting power within the delta, theta, alpha, and beta wavebands, were assessed in 15 healthy volunteers. Each participant was assessed on three separate occasions 4 h after consuming that day's treatment. The order of presentation of the treatments was dictated by a Latin square with 7 days between testing sessions. The results showed that ginseng led to a significant shortening of the latency of the P300 component of the evoked potential. Both ginseng and ginkgo also led to significant reductions in frontal 'eyes closed' theta and beta activity, with additional reduction for ginseng in the alpha waveband. These findings demonstrate for the first time that P. ginseng can directly modulate cerebroelectrical activity, and that these effects are more pronounced than those following G. biloba.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panax*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage


  • Plant Extracts