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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 10, 2002 - A scientific review of 33 clinical trials of Ginkgo biloba in elderly populations with dementia or cognitive decline concluded that ginkgo shows promising evidence for improving memory function, says the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

The scientific review, undertaken and published by the highly respected, international Cochrane Collaboration, reviewed and assessed 33 randomized, double-blind controlled studies and found that ginkgo shows "promising evidence of improvement in cognition and function" and "appears to be safe in use with no excess side effects compared with placebo." The trials, which lasted anywhere from 3 to 52 weeks, showed benefit at less than 12 weeks. The scientific review was funded by the Alzheimer Society and supported by Oxford University, both in England.

The researchers recommended further clinical trials of ginkgo, using modern standardized techniques and adequate size populations, noting a few problems with some of the early trials, including unsatisfactory methods and small populations.

According to John Cardellina, Ph.D., vice president, botanical and regulatory science, Council for Responsible Nutrition, "Ginkgo is among the top selling herbal supplements in the U.S. and, given the recent conflicting news reports about ginkgo's benefits, consumers will want to know more about the Cochrane Collaboration's findings. This analysis provides sufficient scientific support for consumers, particularly the elderly with early stage dementia or memory loss, to feel confident that ginkgo is a viable product for improving memory function."

Tieraona LowDog, M.D., one of America's most highly respected specialists in herbal medicine and its role in modern health care, stated, "Ginkgo has been used in China for the last 500 years but it did not become popular in America until the last decade. Backed by extensive scientific research, standardized extracts of ginkgo leaf are now extremely popular in both Europe and the United States. While there remains a need for a large, rigorous clinical trial to determine who will be most likely to benefit from ginkgo and at what dose, the Cochrane review demonstrates that ginkgo is a safe dietary supplement for those looking to improve their day-to-day cognitive function."

Ginkgo for Prevention of High Altitude Illness
Brother Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, NMD
A well-designed study on the effectiveness of 120 mg Ginkgo biloba twice daily at least five days prior to ascent as prophylaxis for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) prompted me to encourage our group of fourteen pilgrims to do this and not one of us developed significant AMS.

I also took Rhodiola (Hong Jing Tian) along for treatment. The Rhodiola flower flourishes at high altitudes and helps to relive AMS symptoms. A few of us who developed a headache from time to time found that a dose or two of Rhodiola relieved it.

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All information is for informational purposes only, and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. No statements have been evaluated by the FDA. We always suggest talking to your physician concerning any questions you may have about supplement/drug interactions.