Chinese herbal medicine for mild cognitive impairment and age associated memory impairment: A review of randomised controlled trials

Brian H. May, Angela W H Yang, Anthony Lin Zhang, Michael D. Owens, Louise Bennett, Richard Head, Lynne Cobiac, Chun Guang Li, Helmut Hugel, David F Story, Charlie Chang Li Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This review assesses the effectiveness and safety of Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Age Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI). Electronic searches of English and Chinese databases and hand searches of Chinese journal holdings were conducted. Randomised controlled trials comparing orally administered CHM with placebo, no intervention or other therapy were considered. Ginkgo biloba was excluded. Ten trials met inclusion criteria. Eight different CHM were investigated. Methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad scale and five studies scored three or above. Two studies compared CHM with placebo and eight with another intervention. This review found an overall benefit on some outcome measures for the eight CHMs involved in the 10 RCTs but methodological and data reporting issues were evident. Meta-analysis of three studies found the effects of the CHMs were at least equivalent to piracetam on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. No severe adverse events were reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Memory impairment
  • Meta-analysis
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Systematic review

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