Ginkgo biloba extract improves coronary blood flow in healthy elderly adults: role of endothelium-dependent vasodilation

Phytomedicine. 2008 Mar;15(3):164-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2007.12.002. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


Advancing age decreases endothelial function; accordingly, it alters the physiological regulation of coronary blood flow. Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has well-documented anti-ageing effects. However, little is yet known about the pharmacological actions of GBE on endothelial dysfunction and coronary blood flow in healthy elderly adults. We designed the study to test the effects of GBE on distal left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) blood flow and endothelium-dependent brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in healthy elderly adults. Sixty healthy elderly adults were randomly assigned to either GBE or control groups. LAD blood flow and brachial artery FMD were measured non-invasively using high-resolution ultrasound before and after intravenous administration of GBE or saline. GBE significantly increased LAD blood flow in maximal diastolic peak velocity (MDPV), maximal systolic peak velocity (MSPV) and diastolic time velocity integral (DTVI) compared with the placebo group (19.16+/-13.91% vs. 0.30+/-2.55%, 17.76+/-14.56% vs. 0.53+/-2.32%, and 21.73+/-16.13% vs. 0.81+/-2.33%, MDPV, MSPV, and DTVI improvement from baseline, respectively, p<0.01). Brachial artery FMD was also increased by 56.03% (from 7.21+/-2.52% to 11.28+/-3.95%, p<0.01). A linear correlation was found between the percentage change in MDPV, MSPV, or DTVI of LAD blood flow and the percentage change in brachial artery FMD following treatment with GBE (r=0.538, 0.366, or 0.573, respectively, p<0.01, p<0.05, or p<0.01). Our data demonstrate that GBE treatment in healthy elderly adults leads to the increase of LAD blood flow in MDPV, MSPV and DTVI, and the increased response might relate to the improved endothelium-dependent vasodilatory capacity. This study implies an important future therapeutic strategy of using GBE to counteract the detrimental effects of ageing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity / drug effects*
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Circulation / drug effects*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • ginaton