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The memory enhancing effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy middle-aged volunteers


The effects of capsules containing 60 mg of a standardised extract of Ginkgo biloba (GK501) and 100 mg of a standardised extract of Panax ginseng (G115) on various aspects of cognitive function were assessed in healthy middle-aged volunteers. A double blind, placebo controlled, 14 week, parallel group, repeated assessment, multi-centre trial of two dosing regimens, 160 mg b.i.d. and 320 mg o.d. was conducted. Two hundred and fifty-six healthy middle-aged volunteers successfully completed the study. On various study days (weeks 0, 4, 8, 12 and 14) the volunteers performed a selection of tests of attention and memory from the Cognitive Drug Research computerised cognitive assessment system prior to morning dosing and again, at 1, 3 and 6 h later. The volunteers also completed questionnaires about mood states, quality of life and sleep quality. The Ginkgo/ginseng combination was found significantly to improve an Index of Memory Quality, supporting a previous finding with the compound. This effect represented an average improvement of 7.5% and reflected improvements to a number of different aspects of memory, including working and long-term memory. This enhancement to memory was seen throughout the 12-week dosing period and also after a 2-week washout. This represents the first substantial demonstration of improvements to the memory of healthy middle-aged volunteers produced by a phytopharmaceutical.

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Wesnes, K., Ward, T., McGinty, A. et al. The memory enhancing effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy middle-aged volunteers. Psychopharmacology 152, 353–361 (2000).

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  • Cognitive function Ginkgo biloba Panax ginseng Computerised cognitive assessments Attention Working memory Secondary memory