The extract from Ginkgo biloba leaves has become a very popular plant medicine and herbal supplement for its potential benefit in alleviating symptoms associated with peripheral vascular disease, dementia, asthma and tinnitus. Most research on G. biloba leaves focus on the leaves collected in July and August from four to seven year-old trees, however a large number of leaves from fruit cultivars (trees older than 10 years) are ignored and become obsolete after fruit harvest season (November). In this paper, we expand the tree age range (from one to 300 years) and first comparatively analyze the total flavonol glycosides and terpene lactones at different ages, from different cultivation sources and genders of G. biloba leaves collected in November by using the validated HPLC-ELSD and HPLC-PDA methods. The results show that the contents of total terpene lactones and flavonol glycosides in the leaves of young ginkgo trees are higher than those in old trees, and they are higher in male trees than in female trees. Geographical factors appear to have a significant influence on the contents as well. These results will provide a good basis for the comprehensive utilization of G. biloba leaves, especially the leaves from fruit cultivars.
Keywords: Ginkgo biloba leaves; HPLC-ELSD; HPLC-PDA; flavonol glycoside; terpene lactone.