Scientists at the Nanjing University Medical School in China have published the results of their study exploring the effect of ginkgo biloba extract on stroke patients.
Their study was a fairly small one with 342 patients taking part. The average age of participants was 64. Participants were given ginkgo biloba extract daily for six months after their stroke along with aspirin. The participants took a cognitive assessment test at the start of the trial and at regular intervals.
The researchers found that those patients taking the ginkgo biloba extract performed better on the cognitive assessment test showing better memory and reasoning. Based on these findings the researchers concluded that:
“GBE in combination with aspirin treatment alleviated cognitive and neurological deficits after acute ischaemic stroke without increasing the incidence of vascular events.”
They recommended “ginkgo biloba extract for patients with acute stroke for its ability to improve cognition and quality of life.”
The scientists did caution that more work is needed as their study was a small one. They recognised that a large and longer piece of work is needed, but their results were promising.
Other studies have had conflicting results – some show improved brain function, whilst other don’t.
What is Ginkgo Biloba?
The scientists explained that ginkgo biloba is an ancient Chinese tree and the extract has been used in China for many years for memory, depression, tinnitus and confusion. It is one of the oldest living tree species in the world.
Ginkgo Biloba is not just used in China but it is available in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US as a food supplement. It does have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache and constipation. There can be serious side effects such as bleeding in the eye or brain, bleeding after surgery and severe allergic reactions, and it shouldn’t be taken if you’re on certain medication.
Take Home Message
The study was promising but further work is needed to fully assess the effects of ginkgo biloba on stroke patients.
You can download the full research paper below.