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.