Ginkgo Biloba is one of the best-known and most widely-used herbal supplements. It's supposed to do all sorts of things, but most people who take it hope to sharpen their memory and concentration.
Ginkgo is also one of the best-studied and most-tested herbs. The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter analyzed all the research and concluded that there is "no convincing evidence it has any effect on memory or other mental functions in healthy older people – or that it has any health benefits, period."
Dr. John Swarztberg, head of the editorial board at the Wellness Letter, wants you to know that ginkgo can interact with some drugs, including certain antidepressants and blood pressure medications.
"And there have been some studies that have shown that it has some risks in terms of increased risk of bleeding, especially people who are taking blood thinners," he said.
Last year, a government study found evidence that ginkgo extract causes cancer in rodents. That raises some concern.
For all of these reasons, Dr. Swartzberg says you'd be wise to steer clear of supplements containing ginkgo.
If you have a loved one with dementia talk to their doctor about possible medications.
Ginkgo: For Memory and More?