1. By means of a critical review we tried to establish whether there is evidence from controlled trials in humans on the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extracts in cerebral insufficiency. 2. The methodological quality of 40 trials on Ginkgo and cerebral insufficiency was assessed using a list of predefined criteria of good methodology, and the outcome of the trials was interpreted in relation to their quality. A comparison of the quality was made with trials of co-dergocrine, which is registered for the same indication. 3. There were eight well performed trials out of a total of 40. Shortcomings were limited numbers of patients included, and incomplete description of randomization procedures, patient characteristics, effect measurement and data presentation. In no trial was double-blindness checked. Virtually all trials reported positive results, in most trials the dosage was 120 mg Ginkgo extract a day, given for at least 4-6 weeks. For the best trials, there were no marked differences in the quality of the evidence of the efficacy of Ginkgo in cerebral insufficiency compared with co-dergocrine. The results of the review may be complicated by a combination of publication bias and other biases, because there were no negative results reported in many trials of low methodological quality. 4. Positive results have been reported for Ginkgo biloba extracts in the treatment of cerebral insufficiency. The clinical evidence is similar to that of a registered product which is prescribed for the same indication. However, further studies should be conducted for a more detailed assessment of the efficacy.