The cognitive, subjective, and physical effects of a ginkgo biloba/panax ginseng combination in healthy volunteers with neurasthenic complaints

Psychopharmacol Bull. 1997;33(4):677-83.


We evaluated the effects of a Ginkgo biloba/ginseng combination on cognitive function in this 90-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study. Sixty-four healthy volunteers (aged 40 to 65 years), selected on the basis of fulfilling the ICD-10 F48.0 criteria for neurasthenia, were assigned randomly to four equal dosing groups, receiving 80, 160, or 320 mg of the combination b.i.d. or placebo. Assessments were performed on the day before dosing, and again at Days 1, 30, and 90 at 1 hour after the morning dose and 1 hour after the afternoon dose. The assessments included the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) computerized assessment system, the Vienna Determination Unit, cycle ergometry, and various questionnaires. The treatments were well tolerated by all volunteers. On Day 90 at 1 hour post morning dosing, dose-related improvements were seen on the CDR tests, the 320 mg dose being significantly superior to placebo. These effects, however, were reversed 1 hour after the afternoon dose, possibly suggesting that a longer inter-dosing interval would be preferable. The 80-mg dose produced a significant benefit on the ergometry assessment of heart rate at maximum load. There were also several supporting changes from other assessments, including an advantage of 320 mg over placebo on the global score from the Symptom Checklist-90-revised (SCL-90-R) at Day 90.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Emotions / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurasthenia / drug therapy*
  • Panax*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal*


  • Plant Extracts