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   Jan 09

Ginkgo Biloba and Alzheimer’s Disease

Ginkgo Biloba extracts are sold as supplements with potential for many medicinal uses ranging from treating high blood pressure to altitude sickness, more recently against dementia and have been used for centuries in alternative and traditional Chinese medicines and cuisine.

Efficacy of Ginkgo extracts has not been proven, but numerous people and those in alternative and traditional medicines report beneficial effects. Having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it is thought to be involved in blood flow regulation, and many speculated it may be beneficial in dementia.

EGb761 has been widely used to treat cognitive decline across Europe since 2000 in alternative medicine, and it has been used in some small clinical trials. In one systematic review high doses of EGb at 240 mg/day for 5-6 months may have had beneficial effects on dementia, having better recovery in terms of activities of daily living and overall cognitive performance compared to those taking smaller doses and placebo controls. However other studies, such as the GEM study, have shown no overall beneficial effect on treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Analyses of multiple studies of the efficacy of EGb761 in treatment dementia have yielded mixed results; with some suggesting higher doses may have beneficial effects in slowing cognitive decline, while other suggest there is no difference between placebo and Ginkgo.

Much like many alternative medicines most of the large scale studies don’t seem to show any significant effects on positive treatment of health conditions, despite much widespread and long term used in traditional and alternative medicines showing the opposite, stemming debates can get heated.

Majority of herbal medicines don’t cause any significant harm or side effects, and may be used in conjunction with conventional medicines, helping to provide better results, providing a physician has not outlined any in specific possible harmful interactions such as those with EGb761 and warfarin.

When considering alternative medicines it is best to do your own research and make make decisions sharply without weighing all options and possibilities, it may even be best not to forgo conventions medicines and therapies completely in favor of alternative medicines.

EGb761/Ginkgo Biloba extracts may have beneficial effects in preventing or slowing cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, however the majority of studies have not proven it has positive effects in the prevention and treatment of dementia or cognitive decline despite its widespread and longtime usage. In combination with conventional medicines EGb761 may be of more benefit, but relying in it soley is not recommended at this time based on current evidence.

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Source: World Health

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