Following on from our recent post about adaptogens I thought it would be a nice time to look at a study (1) on another adaptogen, Panax Ginseng, combined in this trial with Ginkgo Biloba to assess its effects on memory on middle aged volunteers.
Methods: 60mg of Ginkgo Biloba was combined with 100mg of Panax Ginseng in a double-blind, placebo controlled 14 week trial. Two dosing regimes were tested, one with one capsule each and the second using two capsules each. Two hundred and fifty-six healthy, middle-aged volunteers took part in the study. On different study days in weeks 0, 4, 8, 12 and 14, the subjects performed a range of tests requiring attention and memory prior to morning dosing and again at 1, 3 and 6 hours later. The subjects also completed questionnaires on quality of life, sleep quality and their mood.
Results: The combination therapy of Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng was found to significantly improve an index of memory quality with an average 7.5% improvement which related to both working and long-term memory. The memory improvement was seen throughout the 12-week period and after a 2 week washout period.
Conclusion: The authors asserted that the combination of Ginkgo Biloba and Panax Ginseng represents the first case of an improvement in memory from a phytopharmaceutical.
An interesting study and more evidence to support the potential role of Ginseng as an adaptogen is provided by other recent research showing it to have an effect in improving mood and memory in young adults (2), as well as similar research supporting Ginkgo Biloba’s effectiveness in protecting against impairment of memory (3) as well as improving performance on tasks requiring working memory.
Using Ginseng or Ginkgo Biloba is a relatively cheap and effective way to boost cognitive function. Whether either has a performance advantage is hard to say but if your job involves complex processing of information or you experience high stress levels they may help to modulate levels to ensure performance is maintained at a higher level than would otherwise be the case.
Author: Reggie Johal
1. Wesnes KA et.al (2010): The memory enhancing effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy middle-aged volunteers.
2. Reay JL et.al (2010): Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults.
3. Abdel Wahab et.al (2012): Ginkgo biloba protects against intermittent hypoxia-induced memory deficits and hippocampal DNA damage in rats.
4. Silberstein RB et.al (2011): Examining brain-cognition effects of ginkgo biloba extract: brain activation in the left temporal and left prefrontal cortex in an object working memory task.
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