Evidence of the regulatory effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on skin blood flow and study of its effects on urinary metabolites in healthy humans

Planta Med. 2004 Nov;70(11):1052-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-832646.


Ginkgo biloba extract has been advocated for the improvement of blood circulation in circulatory disorders. This study investigated the effect of the Gingko biloba extract EGb 761 on skin blood flow in healthy volunteers and accompanying changes in urinary metabolites. Twenty-seven healthy middle-aged subjects participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Subjects received 240 mg/d EGb 761 or placebo for periods of 3 weeks. Skin blood flow was measured on the forefoot using laser Doppler flowmetry and changes in urinary metabolites were identified by a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis (MVDA). These measurements were performed on 24-h urine samples collected at the end of the intervention periods. Following EGb 761 treatment, overall mean skin blood flow was significantly reduced as compared with placebo. Remarkably, the change of skin blood flow after EGb 761 intervention was proportionally related to blood flow after placebo treatment: subjects showed either an increased, decreased or unaltered skin blood flow. NMR/MDVA analyses showed that urinary metabolic patterns differed depending on the change in baseline blood flow after treatment with EGb 761. The present findings substantiate that EGb 761 has a multi-directional modulating action on blood flow in healthy subjects and support findings of a vasoregulatory role of this extract. Moreover, the results indicate that metabolic fingerprinting provides a powerful means to identify biochemical markers that are associated with functional changes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Humans
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Urinalysis


  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract