Protective effects of Ginkgo biloba L. against natural toxins, chemical toxicities, and radiation: A comprehensive review

Phytother Res. 2019 Nov;33(11):2821-2840. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6469. Epub 2019 Aug 19.


Nowadays in our developing and industrial world, humans' health or even their life is threatened by exposure to poisons. In this situation, detecting a protective compound could be helpful and interesting. In the present article, we collected and reviewed all studies, which have been conducted so far about the protective effects of Ginkgo biloba L. (GB), one of the most ancient medicinal tree species, against toxicities induced by chemical toxic agents, natural toxins, and also radiation. In overall, investigations showed that GB exerts the antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiapoptotic, and antigenotoxicity effects in different toxicities. There are also some special mechanisms about its protective effects against some specific toxic agents, such as acetylcholine esterase inhibition in the aluminium neurotoxicity or membrane-bond phosphodiesterase activation in the triethyltin toxicity. Ginkgolide A was the most investigated active ingredient of G. biloba leaf extract as a protective compound against toxicities, which had the similar effects of total extract. A few clinical studies have been conducted in this field, which demonstrated the beneficial effects of GB against toxic agents. However, the promising effects of this valuable herbal extract will practically remain useless without carrying out more clinical studies and proving its effects on human beings.

Keywords: Ginkgo biloba; antidote; natural toxin; radiation; toxic chemicals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Biological Products / toxicity
  • Cytoprotection / drug effects
  • Cytoprotection / radiation effects
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control*
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Toxins, Biological / toxicity*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Plant Extracts
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Ginkgo biloba extract