Modulation of cognitive performance following single doses of 120mg Ginkgo biloba extract administered to healthy young volunteers

David O. Kennedy, Pillipa A. Jackson, Crystal F. Haskell, Andrew B. Scholey

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research from our laboratory demonstrated that administration of single doses (120, 240, 360 mg) of standardised Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) had linear, dose-dependent, positive effects on the speed of performing attention tasks in comparison to placebo. However, whilst the lowest dose, which is typical of a recommended daily dose, had no effect on the speed of attention task performance it did engender mild improvements in secondary memory performance. The current study presents a reanalysis of data from three methodologically identical studies that each included a treatment of 120 mg GBE and matched placebo. All three studies were of a multiple dose, placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced-crossover design, employing four or five treatment arms in total. Across the studies 78 healthy young participants received 120 mg GBE and placebo in randomly counterbalanced order, separated by a wash-out period of at least 7 days. On each study day participants' performance on the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) computerised cognitive assessment battery was measured immediately prior to dosing and at 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 hr following treatment, with scores collapsed into the six measures (speed of attention, accuracy of attention, secondary memory, working memory, speed of memory, quality of memory) which have previously been derived by factor analysis of the data from CDR subtests. The results showed that 120 mg of Ginkgo engendered a significant improvement on the 'quality of memory' factor that was most evident at 1 and 4 hr post-dose, but had a negative effect on performance on the 'speed of attention' factor that was most evident at 1 and 6 hr post-dose. The current study confirmed the previous observation of modestly improved memory performance following 120 mg of GBE, but suggests that acute administration of this typical daily dose may have a detrimental effect on the speed of attention task performance which is opposite to that seen previously following higher doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute
  • Attention
  • Ginko biloba
  • Healthy
  • Memory
  • Young

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