Plant Matters; February 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Stix; 2 Page(s)
If Harlan Page Hubbard were alive, he might be the president of a dietary supplements company. In the late 19th century Hubbard sold Lydia E. Pinkham¿s Vegetable Compound for kidney and sexual problems. The renowned huckster is remembered each year by national consumer and health organizations who confer a "Hubbard"-- a statuette clutching a fresh lemon-- for the "most misleading, unfair and irresponsible advertising of the past 12 months."
Appropriately enough, one of this year¿s winners was a product that Hubbard might have peddled alongside his Lydia Pinkham elixir. Ginkai, an extract of the herb gingko, received its lemon for advertising and labeling claims that someone ingesting the product will have a better memory. Whereas some studies have shown that gingko improves mental functioning in people with dementia, none has proved that it serves as a brain tonic for the healthy.