The memory-enhancing effects of Ginseng and Ginkgo biloba in healthy volunteers

Author(s): Persson J, Bringlöv E, Nilsson LG, Nyberg L


Rationale:The use of herbal remedies, such as Ginkgo biloba and Ginseng, for improving cognitive performance has become increasingly popular during recent years. Several previous studies have indicated that administration of Ginkgo biloba and Ginseng may improve aspects of learning and memory in healthy volunteers. These results, however, are generally not supported by well-controlled clinical studies. Also, positive results have often been reported from studies investigating effects related to short-term, chronic administration of the extract. Nonetheless, both Ginkgo biloba and Ginseng are marketed as having the capacity to enhance cognitive functions, such as memory and learning, in the long term.

Objective:This study aimed at investigating whether the use of Ginkgo biloba and Ginseng for a long period of time has positive effects on performance on learning and memory.

Methods:Community-dwelling volunteers ( n=3500) from The Betula prospective cohort study: memory, health, and aging were included in the study.

Results:It was found that the use of neither Ginkgo biloba ( n=40) nor Ginseng ( n=86) was associated with enhanced memory performance in any of the eight memory tests examined, relative to control groups either using or not using nutritional supplements.

Conclusions:These findings indicate that use of Ginkgo biloba or Ginseng does not provide any quantifiable beneficial effects on memory performance in the long-term in healthy adult volunteers.

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