Ginkgo ( Ginkgo biloba ) is one of the oldest living tree species and its leaves are among the most extensively studied botanicals in use today. Unlike many other medicinal herbs, ginkgo leaves are not frequently used in their crude state, but rather, in the form of a concentrated, standardized ginkgo biloba extract (GBE).
Ginkgo has been used in traditional medicine to treat circulatory disorders and enhance memory. Laboratory studies have shown that GBE improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of blood platelets.
Ginkgo leaves also contain two types of chemicals (flavonoids and terpenoids) believed to have potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants such as those found in ginkgo can neutralize free radicals and reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
More than 40 components isolated from the ginkgo tree have been identified, but only two are believed to be responsible for the herb's beneficial effects in humans - flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids (such as quercetin and rutin) have potent antioxidant effects. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that flavonoids protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels, and retina from damage.
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Scientific Literature and References
1. Wen-Jen Lu, PhD, Jin-ding Huang, PhD and Ming-Liang Lai, MD "The Effects of Ergoloid Mesylates and Ginkgo Biloba on the Pharmacokinetics of Ticlopidine"
2. Gardner, Christopher D. PhD; Taylor-Piliae, Ruth E. PhD, RN, CNS; Kiazand, Alexandre MD; Nicholus, Joel MA; Rigby, Alison J. PhD, RD; Farquhar, John W. MD "Effect of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) on Treadmill Walking Time Among Adults With Peripheral Artery Disease: A RANDOMIZED CLINICAL TRIAL [PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE]" Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention:Volume 28(4)July/August 2008p 258-265
3. Helmut Niederhofer * "First preliminary results of an observation of Ginkgo Biloba treating patients with autistic disorder" Phytotherapy Research Published Online: 9 Mar 2009 Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
4. T. Jin, Y.-W. Chen, A. Howard and Y.-Z. Zhang "Purification, crystallization and initial crystallographic characterization of the Ginkgo biloba 11S seed globulin ginnacin" Acta Cryst. (2008). F64, 641-644
5. R. McCarney, P. Fisher, S. Iliffe, R. van Haselen, M. Griffin, J. van der Meulen, J. Warner "Ginkgo biloba for mild to moderate dementia in a community setting: a pragmatic, randomised, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Volume 23 Issue 12, Pages 1222 – 1230 Published Online: 9 Jun 2008
6. Kaptan ZK, Emir H, Gocmen H, Uzunkulaoglu H, Karakas A, Senes M, Samim E. "Ginkgo biloba, a free oxygen radical scavenger, affects inflammatory mediators to diminish the occurrence of experimental myringosclerosis." Acta Otolaryngol. 2008 Oct 17:1-6.
7. Yang JF, Zhou DY, Liang ZY. "A new polysaccharide from leaf of Ginkgo biloba L Fitoterapia." Epub 2008 Oct 15.
8. Sun G, Liu J. "Qualitative and quantitative assessment of the HPLC fingerprints of Ginkgo biloba extract by the involution similarity method." Anal Sci. 2007 Aug;23(8):955-8.
9. Dorairaj S, Ritch R, Liebmann JM. "Visual improvement in a patient taking ginkgo biloba extract: a case study Explore (NY)." 2007 Jul-Aug;3(4):391-5
10. Maria S.M. Wai, John A. Rudd, W.Y. Chan, Gregory E. Antonio, David T. Yew "The effect of Ginkgo biloba on the cerebellum of aging SAMP mouse - A TUNEL, bcl-2, and fMRI study" Microscopy Research and Technique Volume 70 Issue 8, Pages 671 – 676 Published Online: 2 Apr 2007
11. Li-Yun Jia, PhD; Ling Sun, BSc; Dorothy S. P. Fan, FRCS; Dennis S. C. Lam, MD; Chi Pui Pang, DPhil; Gary H. F. Yam, PhD "Effect of Topical Ginkgo biloba Extract on Steroid-Induced Changes in the Trabecular Meshwork and Intraocular Pressure" Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(12):1700-1706.
12. He J, Lin J, Li J, Zhang JH, Sun XM, Zeng CM. "Dual effects of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract on human red blood cells Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol." 2009 Feb;104 (2):138-44. Epub 2008 Dec 18
13.Sakakibara H, Ishida K, Grundmann O, Nakajima J, Seo S, Butterweck V, Minami Y, Saito S, Kawai Y, Nakaya Y, Terao J. "Antidepressant effect of extracts from Ginkgo biloba leaves in behavioral models Biol Pharm Bull." 2006 Aug;29(8):1767-70
14. Gong W, Zeng Z, Chen YY, Chen C, Qiu YX, Fu CX. "Glacial refugia of Ginkgo biloba and human impact on its genetic diversity: evidence from chloroplast DNA J Integr Plant Biol." 2008 Mar;50(3):368-74
15. Tugba Tunali-Akbay, Goksel Sener 2, Hanife Salvarli 3, Ozer Sehirli 2, Aysen Yarat 1 "Protective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract against mercury(II)-induced cardiovascular oxidative damage in rats Phytotherapy" Research Volume 21 Issue 1, Pages 26 – 31 Published Online: 27 Oct 2006