Ginkgo leaf

Chinese Name: Ying xing ye
Medical Name: Folium Ginkgo
Latin Name: Ginkgo biloba L., order Ginkgoales
Origin: Dried leaf.
Taste: Bitter and astringent

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "Useful in cases of sebaceous cysts, wrinkles, scabies, ringworm, nasal eczema and skin infections due to lice."
"Taking cooked ginkgo can warm the lungs to restore qi, relieve dyspnea (shortness of breath) and coughs, reduce urination and arrest gonorrhea (a contagious inflammation of the genital mucous membrane); taking raw ginkgoes can subdue adversely rising qi, remove toxic substances and destroy parasites. The application of this herb onto the nose, face, hands and feet can remove wrinkles, scabies (contagious itch), ringworm, nasal eczema and skin infections due to lice. Taken in excess, it may be so astringent as to cause qi stagnation, cranial distention and even coma. It is said in the book that, long ago, when some hungry people ate a full meal of gingkoes instead of rice, all of them died the next day."

SIMPLIFIED MATERIA MEDICA: "This food-herb astringes the lungs to relieve coughs and dyspnea in the upper part of the body and removes turbid dampness to resolve phlegm in the lower part."

Western Research

Neurology. 2006 Nov 14;67(9 Suppl 3):S2-5.
Primary prevention trials in Alzheimer disease
Green RC, Dekosky ST.
Departments of Neurology, Genetics, and Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L-320, Boston, MA 02118.
Many new treatments under development for Alzheimer disease (AD) will be disease-modifying rather than symptomatic. Clinical evaluation of these treatments will require primary and secondary prevention trials. We describe some of the methodologic challenges in designing primary prevention trials for AD and illustrate these with examples from the ADAPT (Alzheimer Disease Anti-Inflammatory Prevention Trial) Study and GEM (Ginkgo in Evaluation of Memory) Study. Primary prevention trials for AD present many design challenges. In most situations, secondary prevention trials provide the most feasible first step toward primary prevention.

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2006 Sep;26(9):795-8.
Brain protective effects of ginkgo biloba leaf extract (ginaton) in patients undergoing hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass [Article in Chinese]
Deng YK, Wei F, Zhang DG.
Department of Anesthesiology, Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, Guiyang.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the brain protective effects of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract (Ginaton) in patients who underwent hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). METHODS: Sixty patients with rheumatic heart disease of ASA grade II-III, who were scheduled for mitral valve replacement with intravenous anaesthesia, were randomly assigned to two groups, the Ginaton group (30 patients) treated with Ginaton 1 mg/kg by intravenous dripping before open heart for CPB, and the control group (30 patients) with normal saline instead. Blood was synchronously collected from arteriae radialis and vena jugularis interna at 5 time points, namely, before CPB (T1), nasopharyngeal temperature (lowered to 30-31 degrees C) stabilized stage (T2), nasopharyngeal temperature restoration (36 degrees C) stage (T3), 30 min after CPB (T4) and 3 after CPB (Ts) for determining blood gas, lactate acid concentration, activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malonaldehyde (MDA) content. And the oxygen content in artery (CaO2) and jugular vein (CjvO2), the difference of oxygen contents in arterial and jugular vein (Ca-jvO2), the cerebral oxygen extraction ratio (ERO2) as well as the arteriojugular lactate difference (ADVL) were calculated. RESULTS: After the beginning of CPB, as compared with those in the control group, in the Ginaton group, the reduction of Ca-jvO2 and ERO2 was significantly higher (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01) and the increase of lactate acid, ADVL and MDA were significantly lower, and with a remarkably higher SOD activity (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Ginaton could improve cerebral oxygen supply, promote SOD activity to inhibit production of free radicals in patients undergoing CPB, and thus shows an evident protective effect in the brain.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2001 May;26(5):329-32
Effects of ginkgo biloba extract on somatosensory evoked potential and nitric oxide after subarachnoid hemorrhage[Article in Chinese]
Sun BL, Xia ZL, Yang MF, Qiu PM.
Department of Neurology, Affiliated Hospital of Taishan Medical College, Taian 271000, Shandong, China.
To observe the changes of somatosensory evoked potential(SEP) and nitric oxide (NO) after subarachnoid hemorrhage(SAH), and the influence of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb) in ats. EGb relieves SAH-induced brain ischemic damage by reversing the pathological alterations of NO.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(4):CD003120
Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia.
Birks J, Grimley EV, Van Dongen M.
Department of Clinical Geratology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, OX2 6HE
The aim of the review is to assess the efficacy and safety of Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of patients with dementia or cognitive decline. There is promising evidence of improvement in cognition and function associated with Ginkgo. However, the three more modern trials show inconsistent results.

Platelets. 1999 Oct;10(5):298-305.
Inhibitory effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on human platelet aggregation.
[No authors listed]
The effect of pure flavonoids and Gingko biloba extract (GBE) on human platelet aggregation was investigated. Most of the flavonoids and vitamin E did not affect platelet aggregation in platelet-rich plasma (PRP); however some of these flavonoids inhibited platelet aggregation in gel-filtered platelets (GFP). GBE inhibited both ADP- and collagen-induced platelet aggregation in PRP, GFP and in whole blood in a dose-dependent manner. GBE at very low concentrations inhibited whole blood aggregation induced by ADP compared with those used for PRP or GFP. Flavonoids and GBE decreased the production of TxA2 induced by collagen and ADP in PRP. However, no correlation was observed between the inhibition of platelet aggregation and the decrease of TxA2 synthesis. GBE and flavonoids did not affect platelet membrane fluidity. However, the incubation of PRP with GBE increased cAMP levels in platelets, which is known to inhibit platelet activation by lowering intracellular Ca2+ levels. GBE is a mixture of many compounds, including flavonoids and gingkoglides, which affect metabolism of cAMP, TxA2 and Ca2+ in platelets. It is effective in the inhibition of platelet aggregation, both in PRP and whole blood, and thus may be potentially used as an effective oral anti-platelet therapeutic agent.