USA Today reports that a research project studying the effectiveness (or not) of Ginkgo Biloba – a ‘traditional remedy’ thought to aid memory has shown that it has made absolutely no difference in affecting the cognitive decline or otherwise in older people.
The plus side for those reliant on the herb is that at the very least, it was found to cause no harmful effects which I suppose is a definite positive for those who use it regularly (and I’ve come across a few on my travels over the years!).
It’s interesting that the study was funded by the ‘National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ oops!
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Douglas MacKay, vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade group, disputes the study’s findings.
“There is a large body of previously published evidence, as well as ongoing trials, which suggest that ginkgo biloba is effective for helping to improve cognitive impairment in older adults,” he says.
Although it’s a case of ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ I fear.
As the article from USA Today goes on to say
U.S. sales for ginkgo biloba were $99 million in 2008, down 8% from 2007 but still placing it the 8th most popular herb and botanical that the Nutrition Business Journal tracks.
And that’s an awful lot of money.
It’s not to say I’d be wishing it to fail. Believe me, I would love there to be something that would stem cognitive decline in any way, but I also think that selling false hopes is a cruel business and picks on our fears for profit.