Ginkgo biloba in Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review

Wien Med Wochenschr. 2010 Dec;160(21-22):539-46. doi: 10.1007/s10354-010-0844-8.


This systematic review determines the benefit of treatment with Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) concerning patient-relevant outcomes. Bibliographic databases, clinical trial and study result registries were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in patients with AD (follow-up ≥16 weeks) comparing Ginkgo to placebo or a different treatment option. Manufacturers were asked to provide unpublished data. If feasible, data were pooled by meta-analysis. Six studies were eligible; overall, high heterogeneity was shown for most outcomes, except safety aspects. Among studies administering high-dose Ginkgo (240 mg), all studies favour treatment though effects remain heterogeneous. In this subgroup, a benefit of Ginkgo exists for activities of daily living. Cognition and accompanying psychopathological symptoms show an indication of a benefit. A harm of Ginkgo is not evident. An estimation of the effect size was not possible for any outcome. Further evidence is needed which focuses especially on subgroups of AD patients.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents / adverse effects
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract