Safety and effectiveness of a traditional ginkgo fresh plant extract - results from a clinical trial

Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Jun;16(3):156-61. doi: 10.1159/000213167. Epub 2009 May 14.


Background: In Chinese medicine, Ginkgo biloba is used for a variety of indications. In the current study, the safety and efficacy of a traditional fresh plant extract was investigated in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Patients and methods: 59 elderly patients were treated for 6 weeks with a twice daily tablet containing 90 mg of fresh plant Ginkgo biloba extract. The patients suffered from age-related mild cognitive impairment of the non-Alzheimer type assessed by the DemTect score and the presence of symptoms, such as forgetfulness, memory problems, and difficulties in concentration. At the end of the treatment period, safety was primarily assessed by the occurrence of adverse events and efficacy by the DemTect score, the SF-12 quality of life questionnaire, and the change in cognitive symptoms, as well as the judgment of the investigators and patients.

Results: At the final visit, the SF-12 mental score had increased significantly from 48.3 +/- 10.1 to 51.3 +/- 7.9, whereas the SF-12 body score (44.5 +/- 9.2 to 45.3 +/- 8.1) and the DemTect score (15.9 +/- 2.0 to 16.0 +/- 2.3) had not changed significantly. About half of all patients experienced an improvement in their memory and their ability to concentrate, as well as a decrease in symptoms of forgetfulness. The majority of investigators and patients judged the treatment to be effective. The tablets were very well tolerated and, as a treatment for their cognitive impairment, highly accepted (90% would take them again).

Conclusion: This newly developed, holistic fresh leaf extract of Ginkgo biloba is a safe, effective, and, at least, adjuvant treatment option for patients with mild cognitive impairments.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Nootropic Agents / adverse effects
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Switzerland
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Plant Extracts