Ginkgo biloba remains the sole surviving member of its family dating back 250+ million years to the Jurassic period. Native to central China, the tree is now cultivated throughout the world. Ginkgo biloba gained notoriety as a memory stimulant and remains among the top herbal preparations sold in America.
Proponents of Ginkgo biloba urge its use in combating dementia, preserving memory, improving brain function and preventing age related disease of the brain. Some claim Ginkgo biloba may help relieve headaches, ringing in the ears, asthma, macular degeneration, anxiety, depression and more.
While sales of Ginkgo biloba continue to soar, evidence underlying any benefit remains elusive. The largest non-drug industry sponsored study, the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory, involved more than 3000 elderly but otherwise healthy individuals. Unfortunately after 6 years follow up slightly more of the individuals receiving Ginkgo biloba developed dementia of any type and specifically Alzheimer’s Disease than among those in the placebo group.