Neuroprotective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Sep;60(9):1779-92. doi: 10.1007/s00018-003-3080-1.


Ginkgo biloba extract has been therapeutically used for several decades to increase peripheral and cerebral blood flow as well as for the treatment of dementia. The extract contains multiple compounds such as flavonoids and terpenoids that are thought to contribute to its neuroprotective and vasotropic effects. In this review, we summarize the experimental results on the mechanism of neuroprotection induced by standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba leaves (EGb 761) and its constituents. The effects described mostly in animals include those on cerebral blood flow, neurotransmitter systems, cellular redox state and nitric oxide level. Furthermore, we discuss the current status of clinical trials as well as undesired side effects of EGb 761.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Platelet Activating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • Nitric Oxide