a ginkgo leaf

Ginkgo biloba has long been a popular herb in China. It is credited with promoting memory and fighting dementia, although most studies using a German extract of the tree have not provided convincing results. Could this herbal medicine help stroke survivors maintain their cognitive abilities?

Study of Stroke Survivors Using Ginkgo:

Chinese scientists have just published a study comparing aspirin alone to aspirin plus an extract of Ginkgo biloba in stroke survivors (Li et al, Stroke and Vascular Neurology, online Dec. 19, 2017). Rather than the well-studied extract EGb761 from the German Schwabe company, the investigators utilized an extract made by the Jiangsu Shenlong Pharmaceutical Company. This extract has higher amounts of the compounds believed to be helpful and less than half the amount of ginkgoic acid, which appears to be harmful.

The researchers recruited 348 people who had just had an ischemic stroke and randomly assigned them to one of the treatment groups. Standardized tests were used to test the subjects’ cognitive ability after one month, three months and six months. Scores for patients taking Ginkgo biloba extract plus aspirin were significantly better than those for people taking aspirin along. There were no differences in the adverse events.

The researchers conclude that:

“GBE in combination with aspirin treatment alleviated cognitive and neurological deficits after acute ischaemic stroke without increasing the incidence of vascular events.”

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  1. Roberto
    Surabaya - indonesia

    I just had a TIA/ stroke I got from the doctor anti-hypertension 16 mg daily medicine and clopidogrel/CPD 75mg for my blood thinner. Is it okay I use ginko biloba combine with my daily medicine ?

    • Terry Graedon

      No, don’t take Ginkgo biloba with clopidogrel. The combination could lead to excess bleeding.

  2. Dorothy

    I have had no side effects from Ginkgo Biloba. I take a 60mg pill twice a day. I am 80 years old now and worry about lack of memory. Would like to know if there is anything that really helps. My grandmother had same problems when she got old but back then they didn’t name what was wrong with her. She died at age 88. My mother was beginning to have memory problems when she died at about 75 years old. If you know of anything that really works, please tell us.

  3. Carol

    I tried Ginkgo Biloba twice and I became so nauseous after a half hour, both times. It was awful. Then I read where that was a common side effect. People should know this before they try it.

  4. Lida

    This sounds so promising for me but after checking on consumerlab.com it is clearly stated NOT to be used with aspirin, which I am on following a TIA.
    Who do I believe?

  5. Doug

    Thank you for this report.
    I suggest a reporting of the various
    Ginkgo supplements out there,
    and their analysis of the above mentioned
    ingredients, both the good and the bad.

  6. Luke

    Placebo effect?

  7. Anne

    I remember my mom and dad taking ginko biloba for memory. Of course, she could never remember the name of it.

  8. Lida

    Is the extract used in the study available to us in the USA? If so what is the brand name? If not which do you recommend?

    • Dorothy

      I have been using Spring Valley Ginkgo Biloba — Spring Valley is a Walmart brand. I did not read the “suggestion” about not taking aspirin with Ginkgo. I, too, take one aspirin a day. Do you know why that isn’t supposed to be done?


      • Kristin L

        Both Gingko and aspirin are blood thinners, which is my guess as to why they recommended that they not be taken together.

    • Terry Graedon

      We don’t believe it is available in the US.

  9. Carla

    How would Americans get the Chinese gingko compound, rather than the German formulation that contains more harmful elements?

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