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Kathmandu Univ Med J (KUMJ). 2004 Jul-Sep;2(3):225-9.

Ginkgo biloba--an appraisal.

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Department of Pharmacology, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal.


Ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 5000 years. A standardized preparation, EGb 761 has been recently prepared. The pharmacologically active constituents, flavonol glycosides and the terpene lactones are standardized. The terpene lactones comprise of ginkgolides A, B, C and bilobalides. The extract scavenges excess free radicals and pretreatment with EGb 761 reduces damage by free radicals in patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery. The action of platelet activating factor is antagonized and platelet aggregation is reduced. Blood flow is increased. Release of prostacyclines and nitric oxide was shown to be stimulated. Ginkgo biloba has been found to be useful in the treatment of Alzheimers disease and cognitive impairment. EGB 761 has shown beneficial effect in aging and mild cognitive impairment. Bilobalide has been shown to be protective against glutamate-induced excitotoxic neuronal death. Early studies indicate a potential role in age-related macular degeneration and some types of glaucoma. Anticancer action is related to antioxidant, anti-angiogenic and gene regulatory actions. Ginkgo biloba has shown overall improvement in about 65% of patients with cerebral impairment and a similar percentage suffering from peripheral vascular diseases. A recent study suggested that phytoestrogens in Ginkgo biloba may have a role as alternative hormone replacement therapy. Recent trials have not shown a beneficial effect of Ginkgo biloba in tinnitus and acute mountain sickness. Ginkgo biloba increased the bioavailability of diltiazem. The extract has been shown to protect against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in animals. Ginkgo biloba inhibits microsomal enzymes and has a potential for drug interactions. Further studies to establish the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba are required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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