Does Ginkgo biloba reduce the risk of cardiovascular events?

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010 Jan;3(1):41-7. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.871640. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was a preplanned secondary outcome of the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study. The trial previously reported that Ginkgo biloba had no effect on the primary outcome, incident dementia.

Methods and results: The double-blind trial randomly assigned 3069 participants over 75 years of age to 120 mg of G biloba EGb 761 twice daily or placebo. Mean follow-up was 6.1 years. The identification and classification of CVD was based on methods used in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Differences in time to event between G biloba and placebo were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age and sex. There were 355 deaths in the study, 87 due to coronary heart disease with no differences between G biloba and placebo. There were no differences in incident myocardial infarction (n=164), angina pectoris (n=207), or stroke (151) between G biloba and placebo. There were 24 hemorrhagic strokes, 16 on G biloba and 8 on placebo (not significant). There were only 35 peripheral vascular disease events, 12 (0.8%) on G biloba and 23 (1.5%) on placebo (P=0.04, exact test). Most of the peripheral vascular disease cases had either vascular surgery or amputation.

Conclusions: There was no evidence that G biloba reduced total or CVD mortality or CVD events. There were more peripheral vascular disease events in the placebo arm. G biloba cannot be recommended for preventing CVD. Further clinical trials of peripheral vascular disease outcomes might be indicated.

Clinical trial registration: Identifier: NCT00010803.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract

Associated data