Ginkgo biloba: no robust effect on cognitive abilities or mood in healthy young or older adults

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2006 Jan;21(1):27-37. doi: 10.1002/hup.739.


Ginkgo biloba extracts are commonly used to prevent or treat memory problems but evidence on the efficacy of ginkgo is equivocal. In any case, the psychological locus of ginkgo's effects is unknown. A 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed effects of ginkgo (120 mg per day) on a wide range of cognitive abilities, executive function, attention and mood in 93 healthy older adults (55-79 years) and in 104 young adults (18-43 years). For the older adult sample, longer-term memory assessed by associational learning tasks showed improvement with ginkgo (d = 0.52, p = 0.04). There was no statistically significant difference on any other measure. For the young adult group no measure showed statistically significant effects of ginkgo enhancement. There were no side effects unequivocally attributable to treatment with ginkgo and those reported by participants in the ginkgo groups were mild and similar to those reported elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Association Learning / drug effects
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Plant Extracts