[The effect of ginkgo biloba on healthy elderly subjects]

Fortschr Med Orig. 2003;121(1):5-10.
[Article in German]


Background and aim: Over the past 25 years, numerous studies have confirmed the positive effect of the special ginkgo extract EGb 761 on the mental ability and emotional well-being of patients with cognitive disorders of vascular genesis, and Alzheimer-type dementia. The following study investigated the short-term effect of the special ginkgo extract EGb 761 on the subjective emotional well-being of healthy elderly subjects. STUDY POPULATION AND METHOD: The study was designed as a randomized double-blind, monocenter study with parallel groups. It included 66 healthy subjects of both sexes aged between 50 and 65 with no age-related cognitive impairments. For a period of 4 weeks, 34 subjects received a daily dose of 240 mg EGb 761, and 32 a placebo. Prior to starting medication and after 28 days of treatment, subjects completed the following scales and questionnaires to establish subjective emotional well-being: the Profile of Mood States (POMS), the Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS), three Visual Analog Scales to assess the quality of life (VAS-QoL), general health (VAS-GH) and mental health (VAS-MH), and a new instrument for assessing changes in general subjective well-being, the Subjective Intensity Score Mood (SIS Mood). Depending on the underlying distribution of the variables analyzed, parametric (t-tests) or nonparametric tests (U-tests) were performed to compare mean values and distributions both within and between the treatment groups.

Results: The final examination revealed a statistically significant difference between the two groups for the VAS mental health and quality of life, as also for SIS Mood at the telephone interview in week 2. A comparison of baseline with the final examination within the groups showed a statistically significant improvement in the EGb 761 group for the variables: depression, fatigue, anger and SDS. For none of the variables investigated was a worsening observed in the EGb 761 group.

Conclusions: The results suggest a positive effect of EGb 761 on the subjective emotional well-being of healthy elderly persons.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Aged
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract