that a daily dose of 240 mg of ginkgo bi- loba was effective to stabilize or slow the decline in cognition in patients with Al- zheimer’s disease, dementia and mild cognitive impairment. A Japanese meta- analysis reached similar results and con- cluded that a 240-mg daily dose of Ginkgo biloba extract is effective and safe in the treatment of dementia. And a series of studies have found that ginkgo biloba is just as good as the drug donepezil (Aricept) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind study Italian researchers di- vided a group of patients with Alzheimer’s type dementia into three groups. One group received 160 mg per day of ginkgo biloba; another received 5 mg per day of donepezil; and the third group received a placebo. After 24 weeks the researchers concluded that ginkgo biloba was clini- cally comparable to donepezil for Al- zheimer’s dementia. They suggested that doctors could justify using either treat- ment.

Similarly, a 2009 Austrian meta- analysis of 10 trials concluded that there are no statistically significant or clinically relevant differences between ginkgo bi- loba and donepezil for treating dementia. Ginkgo biloba has the added benefit

of safety. In a randomized, double-blind exploratory trial of 96 patients with prob- able Alzheimer’s disease, Bulgarian re- searchers set up three groups. One re- ceived 240 mg per day of ginkgo biloba; another group received five milligrams of donepezil per day for four weeks followed by 10 mg per day; and a third group re- ceived both ginkgo and the drug. After 22 weeks improvements in all three groups were similar but the adverse events rates for the ginkgo group and the combination group were significantly lower than the drug group.

2. Schizophrenia In a meta-analysis of 3 trials, Chinese

researchers found that ginkgo biloba im- proved symptoms of tardive dyskinesia in schizophrenia patients. Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious side effect of anti-psychot- ic drugs often prescribed for schizophre- nia. Its symptoms include facial grimacing, finger movement, jaw swinging, repetitive chewing, and tongue thrusting. Some researchers believe ginkgo’s high antioxidant levels reduce tardive dyskinesia. One double-blind, random-

ized, placebo-controlled study of TD pa- tients showed that ginkgo biloba enhanc- es levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Patients with TD have low levels of BDNF. Treatment with 240 mg of ginkgo improved their symptoms of TD and increased BDNF levels.

3. Tinnitus

A meta-analysis of eight trials found that tinnitus can be successfully treated with ginkgo biloba. Tinnitus is a perception of sound in the absence of noise. It’s often called “ringing in the ears" but can also sound like hissing, clicking or whistling. In one German study, 60 patients with

chronic tinnitus underwent 10 days of in- patient infusion treatment of 200 mg per day of ginkgo biloba. Then they were di- vided into two groups to receive either a placebo or 80 mg of ginkgo twice a day for 12 weeks. The researchers found that ginkgo was superior to placebo for improv- ing tinnitus symptoms and decreased hearing loss. And in a French study of 103 tinnitus patients, ginkgo biloba extract improved the condition of all the patients.

4. Vitiligo Vitiligo is a disorder in which mela-

nocytes, cells that give skin its color, are destroyed. It results in white patches of skin on different parts of the body. Oxida- tive stress is believed to be part of the cause of vitiligo. Ginkgo biloba has antioxidant properties that may help halt progression and even reverse the condition. In a double-blind placebo-controlled

trial, 47 vitiligo patients were given either a placebo or 40 mg of a ginkgo extract three times daily. The ginkgo group had a statistically significant cessation of active progression of depigmentation. Marked or complete repigmentation was seen in 10 patients in the ginkgo group, compared to only 2 in the placebo group. The research- ers concluded that ginkgo biloba is a simple, safe and fairly effective therapy for arresting the progression of vitiligo. A more recent study of 11 patients found that 60 mg of ginkgo taken twice a day significantly improved vitiligo. The progression of vitiligo stopped in all par- ticipants and the average repigmentation of lesions was 15 percent.

5. Arterial Disease Peripheral occlusive arterial disease (POAD) is a blockage or narrowing of an

NOVEMBER 2018 13


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