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The superb anti-anxiety effect of Ginkgo biloba

Supplementation with a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba reduces anxiety and worry. German psychiatrists studied the anti-anxiety effect of ginkgo in a trial and found that the effect of the supplement exceeds that of regular medication.

The superb anti-anxiety effect of Ginkgo biloba

In 2007, German psychiatrists, affiliated with the Klinik fuer Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie in Giessen, published a human study in which 107 test subjects participated, all of whom suffered from so much fear, anxiety and worry that they could no longer function properly. Some of the test subjects actually always suffered from this [GAD subsample], others only during periods of stress [ADWAM subsample].

The psychiatrists divided the subjects into 3 groups.

One group received a placebo every day for 4 weeks. A second group took a daily supplement with 240 milligrams of Ginkgo biloba extract, a third group took 480 milligrams of extract daily.

The researchers used the standardized extract EGb761 from Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH. Robert Hoerr, affiliated with the company's Clinical Research Department, was also the study's director. It is not stated in the publication, but we assume that Schwabe funded this research.

Just before the supplementation period started and on the last day, the psychiatrists measured the test subjects' anxiety using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale [HAMA]. The higher the score, the greater the anxiety. 0-7 = no fear; 8-14 = mild anxiety, 15-23 = moderate anxiety; more than 23 = severe anxiety.

Anxiety scores decreased in all groups, but the decrease was greater in the 2 ginkgo groups. The 480 milligram dose worked best.

The superb anti-anxiety effect of Ginkgo biloba

The superb anti-anxiety effect of Ginkgo biloba

In the subjects with severe anxiety, only the high dose had a significant effect. The table above states that ginkgo is not effective in people who mainly experience anxiety during stress [ADWAM subsample], but you have to keep in mind that this group was small.

Adverse effects
The test subjects did not use any medications. Combining ginkgo and medicine is usually not a good idea. This applies doubly to psychotropic drugs.

"The results of this study suggest that EGb 761 has a specific anxiolytic effect that is dose-dependent and significantly exceeds the placebo effect commonly seen in trials of psychoactive drugs," the Germans write. "It appears to be worth considering EGb761 for the treatment of this type of anxiety."

"With its excellent tolerability, the absence of a risk for dependence, lack of adverse impact on vigilance and cognitive functioning (according to general experience), the drug is not only suitable for elderly patients, but also for young people at work."

J Psychiatr Res. 2007 Sep;41(6):472-80.

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