This question has been hanging around for ages. In years past, there was only the evidence of observation and it was concluded that the seeds of the Ginkgo tree helped increase mental function. For those of you who are fans of Dr. Oz, he claims that proper dosing is the key to its efficacy.
Since clinical trials have been done on Ginkgo, it has been conclusively determined that it increases blood flow to the brain. Straightforward reasoning would conclude that more blood flow would result in more mental capacities. Unfortunately, it’s not simple because blood flow is not even close to being the only factor in memory loss, dementia, and other maladies related to brain function.
The most promising study for Ginkgo a 2010 trial published by the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry where it was concluded that Ginkgo Biloba, when given as a single 240 mg daily dose, “was found significantly superior to placebo in the treatment of patients with dementia with neuropsychiatric symptoms.” In statistical terms, it is usual to assume that “significantly superior” would be at least one standard deviation above the norm or about 66% more effective than the placebo.
There have also been encouraging studies performed on people without mental impairment. It was determined in several studies that Gingko can significantly improve attention spans in healthy individuals.
I think everyone, even those with already stellar mental abilities, would like to have a better memory. A natural born skeptic and cynic, I believe that if there were a conclusive way to debunk the myth of Ginkgo, it would have been done by those who stood to profit from doing so. Because Ginkgo has been flagged to interact with many medications, especially those that are used for blood and blood pressure control, it leads one to assume that the vascular properties asserted are true.
Far from a clinically scientific study, I have begun to take 240mg. daily. I will do so for 2 months and report my “unofficial” findings back in this blog. Stay tuned!