Ginkgo Biloba Definition and Composition

Therapeutic definition

Ginkgo biloba defined as extracts of leaves and seeds of ginkgo used to treat certain medical problems. Ginkgo biloba has been used in the treatment and prevention of dementia, memory, Alzheimer disease and blood vessels diseases.

The composition of Ginkgo biloba Extract

Ginkgo biloba extracts (EGb) are well-defined plant extracts containing two major groups of constituents, i.e. flavonoids and terpenoids. Most extracts used for medical purposes contain 24% flavone and 6% terpenoides. The terpenoids include bilobalids and ginkgoloids. Flavonoids are regarded to contribute to the antioxidant and free radical scavenger effect of EGb. The antagonism of platelet activating factor (PAF) is related to the ginkgoloids. PAF produces inflammatory effects, it contracts smooth muscles and increases the permeability of vessel walls (Maltas et al., 2011).

Table: Different classes of compounds are present in the standardized Ginkgo biloba extract 761 (Ude et al., 2013)

Compounds class


Compounds class




High molecular mass compounds


Terpene trialactones


Inorganic constituents




Water, solvent


Carboxylic acids



<5 ppm



Non-Flavonol glycosides



Therapeutic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract

Alkaloid ketones, amino acids, cyanogenic glycosides and phenols are abundant in this plant extract that are active ingredients responsible for its therapeutic effects. Ginkgo biloba also contains flavonoids, terpene lactones, and ginkgolic acids that have beneficial effects on human health. This medicinal plants also used to treatment of large number of health and neurological disorders.

  • Positive effects of Ginkgo biloba plant have been reported on Alzheimer disease, memory enhancement, dementia of vascular origin, cognitive disorders and its anti-oxidative effects in combination with other drugs, which enhance their effects or decrease their psychiatric side effects.
  • Ginkgo biloba can be used as reinforcing antidepressants agent and a neuroprotective drug in brain injuries. This plant modifies the cerebral blood flow and may help to reduce fatigue and inattention contribute hyperactivity (Mohanta et al., 2014).
  • Another study showed its effect on several different neurotransmitter systems of the central nervous system. Ginkgo biloba has anti-anxiety and mild anti-depression effects due to reversible inhibition of two MAOA and MAOB enzymes.
  • Ginkgo biloba extract has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects due to flavonoids and terpenoids presence.
  • Ginkgo biloba has a positive effect on the cognitive and neurological function by vascular flow regulation and platelet-activating antagonism factors that protect the brain from ischemic injuries (Diamond et al., 2017).
  • Ginkgo biloba show prevention effects on psychosis, anxiety, schizophrenia and depression. It stimulates the cerebral blood circulation and improves problems caused by the failure of blood circulation in the brain include anxiety stress, low memory, hearing problems, low concentration, thinking, social behavior and dementia in Alzheimer disease.
  • Ginkgo biloba extracts (GBEs) are widely used for various kinds of disorders, including cognitive dysfunctions, headache, tinnitus, vertigo, inattention, mood disturbances, cardiovascular diseases, and coronary heart disease.
  • GBEs have been demonstrated to have antioxidative activities, to increase tolerance to hypoxia, and to improve blood rheology by increasing the flexibility of cellular blood components, thus enhancing microcirculation; neurotransmitter levels; enhancing neuroplasticity; prevention of brain edema; and neuroprotection (Funfgeld, 2012).

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Diamond, B. J., & Mondragon, A. (2017). Ginkgo biloba. Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice. Washington: American Psychiatric Association Publishing, 149.

Fünfgeld, E. W. (Ed.). (2012). Rökan: Ginkgo biloba Recent Results in Pharmacology and Clinic. Springer Science & Business Media.

Maltas, E., Vural, H. C., & Yildiz, S. (2011). Antioxidant activity and fatty acid composition of Ginkgo biloba from Turkey. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 35(3), 803-818.

Mohanta, T. K., Tamboli, Y., & Zubaidha, P. K. (2014). Phytochemical and medicinal importance of Ginkgo biloba L. Natural product research, 28(10), 746-752.

Ude, C., Schubert-Zsilavecz, M., & Wurglics, M. (2013). Ginkgo biloba extracts: a review of the pharmacokinetics of the active ingredients. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, 52(9), 727-749.