Reduction of rise in blood pressure and cortisol release during stress by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) in healthy volunteers

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;53(3):337-48.


The standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) was found not only to improve memory and aging associated cognitive deficits but also to exert beneficial effects on mood. An antistress action of the extract has been suggested but not directly proven. The present study was aimed to evaluate the effects of EGb 761 on salivary cortisol and blood pressure responses during stress in healthy young volunteers (n = 70) in a double blind placebo controlled design. A stress model involving a combination of static exercise (handgrip) and mental stimuli was used. Single treatment with EGb 761 (120 mg) reduced stress-induced rise in blood pressure without affecting the heart rate. Salivary cortisol responses showed differences with respect to the gender and the time of day of the stress exposure, with the activation only in male subjects in the afternoon. This activation was absent if they were treated with EGb 761. The performance in a short memory test with higher scores achieved by women remained unaffected by EGb 761 treatment. Thus, this study provides evidence that EGb 761 has an inhibitory action on blood pressure and it may influence cortisol release in response to some stress stimuli.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reference Values
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • Hydrocortisone