Does Ginkgo Biloba Work?
Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) supplements are claimed to be beneficial for several uses, but does ginkgo biloba work? Preliminary research shows promising results for using ginkgo biloba to improve memory, dementia, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, intermittent claudication, PMS, Raynaud's syndrome, and vertigo. However, some of the other reported ginkgo biloba uses have very little or no scientific evidence in their favor.
Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) is an herbal supplement that is most often used for enhancing mental functioning and memory. As with most other supplements, people use ginkgo biloba for many different uses. Some of these uses have promising research in their favor, some have limited scientific support, and some have no scientific basis whatsoever.
Early studies show promising results for using ginkgo biloba for the following uses:
- Memory enhancement in elderly people
- Improving mental functioning in young- to middle-age people
- Dementia (including Alzheimer's disease)
- Diabetic retinopathy (an eye condition caused by diabetes)
- Intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by blood vessel problems)
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Raynaud's syndrome (a condition related to poor circulation, especially of the hands and feet)
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation).
More studies (including larger, more carefully designed studies) are necessary before it can be said conclusively that ginkgo biloba works for any of these conditions.
Some uses have a little scientific evidence in their favor, but the evidence is too preliminary or contradictory to draw any conclusions about whether ginkgo biloba really works for these uses. These conditions include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Colon cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Hearing loss