Laura's Corner

Alone or With Drugs: Ginkgo for the Worst Dementia

by in Health Tips May 19, 2022

Vascular dementia is the most severe form of cognitive impairment caused by vascular disease. Ginkgo biloba is the best herb for cognitive impairment; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are the best drug. Which is better?

This study of 77 people with vascular dementia compared treatment with ginkgo alone with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors alone or the two treatments combined.

If ginkgo could add anything, that would be a huge benefit because there is no drug approved for vascular dementia. The results of a recent review found that, though acetylcholinesterase inhibitors provide a slight benefit, the change is not likely to be clinically significant (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;2(2):13306). The best drug is donepezil, but the cost is its side effects.

The impressive result was that the ginkgo was significantly more effective than the drugs. Adding the drugs to the ginkgo was better than ginkgo alone on some tests. Adding the ginkgo to the drugs was better than the drugs on even more.

The safest treatment was ginkgo, which was much safer than the drug alone or the drugs combined with the herb. The treatment with the most side effects was the drugs alone.

The researchers conclude that a year of Ginkgo biloba, either alone or combined with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, safely reduces cognitive impairment in people with vascular dementia. This is important news for elderly people and, perhaps especially, for stroke survivors.

Clinical Drug Investigation March 2022;