Ginkgo biloba should not be used to prevent dementia

Another herbal medication bites the dust.

The largest randomized trial thus far declared the drug ineffective for the prevention of mild dementia. In fact, in those who had a history of baseline cardiovascular disease, Ginkgo actually raised the incidence of dementia.

With bleeding is a potential adverse effect, the lead author cautions “why it is untenable to recommend a drug or nutraceutical in the absence of efficacy evidence simply because it could possibly help and initially appears harmless.”

Gingko-related products have annual sales of over $249 million in the United States. Expect those numbers to take a hit.

Gingko joins Echinacea and Black Cohosh as herbal remedies that have failed rigorous testing as reported in reputable medical journals.

topics: herbal, jama

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  • Taylor Walsh

    I am just getting into the alternative therapy world, from a publishing perspective. I’ll follow up on this one. It is essential that research be conducted on these substance. But…(you felt that coming)…I have learned that in some cases, Black Cohosh being one, research has shown ineffectiveness for a problem that no one ever asserted would be helped by the substance to begin with.

    Between 2005 and 2007, the NIH spent $22 million researching botanicals (herbs, etc.) alone (by far the highest category). The cynics say that the results of this work might be of interest to pharma companies; which is why so much money was deployed in the first place. Terrible cynicism abounds. Basically, just look both ways before entering the alternative health stream. Even then the water can be murky.

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