The neuroprotective properties of the Ginkgo biloba leaf: a review of the possible relationship to platelet-activating factor (PAF).


Smith PF, Maclennan K, Darlington CL




J Ethnopharmacol


Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgoaceae) is an ancient Chinese tree which has been cultivated and held sacred for its health-promoting properties. There is substantial experimental evidence to support the view that Ginkgo biloba extracts have neuroprotective properties under conditions such as hypoxia/ischemia, seizure activity and peripheral nerve damage. Research on the biochemical effects of Ginkgo biloba extracts is still at a very early stage. One of the components of Ginkgo biloba, ginkgolide B, is a potent platelet-activating factor (PAF) antagonist. Although the terpene fraction of Ginkgo biloba, which contains the ginkgolides, may contribute to the neuroprotective properties of the Ginkgo biloba leaf, it is also likely that the flavonoid fraction, containing free radical scavengers, is important in this respect. Taken together, the evidence suggests that Ginkgo biloba extracts are worthy of further investigation as potential neuroprotectant agents.