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.”