Efficacy, safety, and use of ginkgo biloba in clinical and preclinical applications

Altern Ther Health Med. Sep-Oct 2001;7(5):70-86, 88-90.

Abstract

Ginkgo biloba is a dioecious tree with a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Although the seeds are most commonly employed in traditional Chinese medicine, in recent years standardized extracts of the leaves have been widely sold as a phytomedicine in Europe and as a dietary supplement in the United States. The primary active constituents of the leaves include flavonoid glycosides and unique diterpenes known as ginkgolides; the latter are potent inhibitors of platelet activating factor. Clinical studies have shown that ginkgo extracts exhibit therapeutic activity in a variety of disorders including Alzheimer's disease, failing memory, age-related dementias, poor cerebral and ocular blood flow, congestive symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and the prevention of altitude sickness. Due in part to its potent antioxidant properties and ability to enhance peripheral and cerebral circulation, ginkgo's primary application lies in the treatment of cerebrovascular dysfunctions and peripheral vascular disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Diterpenes*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Ginkgo biloba / metabolism
  • Ginkgo biloba / therapeutic use*
  • Ginkgolides
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infertility, Male / drug therapy
  • Lactones / pharmacokinetics
  • Lactones / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Menopause / drug effects
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Platelet Activating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Diterpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Ginkgolides
  • Lactones
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • ginkgolide B