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Gingko Biloba Does Not Improve Cognitive Health

February 2010

Data from a randomized study of gingko biloba in older adults showed no reversal of cognitive decline when using the herb. Many people use the common herbal product believing it will help improve their memory, attention or mild depression. And as people with HIV are growing older and neuro-cognitive issues are more common, some were hopeful that gingko biloba would be a possible complementary therapy.

The large US GEM study followed 3,069 people aged 72 to 96 years from 2000 to 2008. Half were given two daily 120mg doses of gingko biloba and the other half took a placebo. People were assessed on issues of memory, attention span, concentration, language and ability to reason through tests that measure the rate of change in these mental qualities over time. The data showed no changes in cognitive function between the two groups.

Despite these conclusive results, people may still choose to use gingko biloba as a complementary therapy. There's also a chance that the herb may interact with a common HIV drug, as detailed in this article.

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