The seeds and leaves of Ginkgo biloba are used in traditional medicines. The two main bioactive constituents present in a concentrated standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba are Flavonoid Glycosides (24%) and terpene lactones (6%), which may act in a complementary manner. These molecules act as antioxidants/free radical scavengers, enzyme inhibitors, and cation chelators (1). The therapeutic mechanisms of action of the Ginkgo leaf extract are suggested to be through its antioxidant, antiplatelet, anti-hypoxic, anti-edemic, Hemorheology, and microcirculatory actions. Studies conducted shows that there is a significant improvement in speed of information processing in the brain related to working memory. The bioactive constituents from the Ginkgo biloba have the potential to act as a ‘smart drug’ or nootropic agent to improve intelligence (3).
The Ginkgo leaf extract has been reported to have the therapeutical role in neurodegenerative disease prevention and enhancing mental health (stress release and memory enhancing action) (2):
A transient headache has been documented as a side effect. The use of GBE has not been associated with other severe side effects to date. The whole plant, seeds, and pulp are occasionally associated with severe allergic reactions. Patients taking aspirin should exercise caution when adding GBE therapy (1).
1. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P. Ginkgo biloba. Lancet 1992; 340: 1136
2. Mahadevan, S., and Y. Park. “Multifaceted therapeutic benefits of Ginkgo biloba L.: Chemistry, efficacy, safety, and uses.” Journal of Food Science 73.1 (2008): R14-R19.
3. Stough, Con, et al. “Neuropsychological changes after 30-day Ginkgo biloba administration in healthy participants.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 4.2 (2001): 131-134.