Aims and method: To assess and update the available data on use of ginkgo to treat dementia. A Medline search as conducted for the period January 1985 to October 2000. The search included other aspects of the usage of ginkgo, such as side-effects, mechanism of action and drug interactions. Results: Most of the trials using ginkgo were to treat cerebral insufficiency. Only five trials could be identified that used ginkgo to treat dementia. There are no trials comparing ginkgo to cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil. Clinical implications: Ginkgo is generally well-tolerated and appears to ease the symptoms of dementia. Although it has been suggested that the effect is comparable to donepezil, confirmation from controlled studies is required.