Standardized Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb761, has been shown to possess polyvalent properties, such as anti-oxidation, anti-apoptosis and anti-inflammation. Recently, it has also been proposed to have direct protective effects on mitochondria. The effects of EGb761 make it a potential anti-aging drug. Despite that, the 'anti-aging' effect of EGb761, particularly its effect on the central nervous system, is still inconclusive. Using two age groups (3-week-old and 40-week-old) of SAMP8 mice (a senescence-accelerated strain of mice), the effects of EGb761 on mitochondrial function in platelets and hippocampi were investigated in this study. It was found that mitochondrial functions, evaluated as cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity, mitochondrial ATP (adenosine-5'-triphosphate) content and mitochondrial glutathione (GSH) content, decreased with age. EGb761 protected against mitochondrial dysfunction in platelets of young and old mice, suggesting a peripheral effect of this herb in the prevention and treatment of age-associated degeneration. In contrast, in hippocampi, protective effects of EGb761 were observed only in the old mice, probably due to an age-associated increase in the permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB). Therefore, while EGb761 has a potential anti-aging effect, its central effect can be affected by in vivo factors such as the BBB permeability. A better understanding of the in vivo pharmacological actions of EGb761 may contribute to a better understanding of the effectiveness and complexity of this drug.