For years, health conscious individuals have been taking Ginkgo biloba in hopes of decreasing their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The Chinese herb has been billed by many as a “wonder drug” that boosts mental health and sharpens the memory, thus helping to prevent the terrible disease. A new study out of London this week reveals that there is no correlation between the herb extract and the preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s.
The new study, published in The Lancet Neurology journal today, is shedding light on skepticism that this herb has the power to decrease an individual’s likeliness of suffering from the disease.
The trial was conducted in France over the course of five years. 2,854 seniors aged 70 or older who had already made doctors visits due to memory concerns took part. Over the five-year period, 1,406 patients were given Ginkgo biloba extract while 1,414 were given a placebo. In the end, 4 percent of those in the Ginkgo biloba group and 5 percent of those in the placebo group had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Bruno Bellas, lead researcher on the study, says “the difference in results for the two groups was not statistically significant.” He also noted that the study produced similar results to a 2009 study in the United States.
“This is by far the largest trial of Ginkgo so far,” Edzard Ernst, former director of complementary medicine at Britain’s University of Exeter, said in an email. “The results are disappointing and fail to show that this herbal remedy reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. Another beautiful herbal theory destroyed by an ugly fact.”
Long story short: If you’re buying Ginkgo in hopes of reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s, don’t waste your money.
Source: Washington Post