Ginkgo biloba extract: from molecular mechanisms to the treatment of Alzhelmer's disease.

Martina Zimmermann, Francesca Colciaghi, Flaminio Cattabeni, Monica Di Luca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ginkgo biloba is registered for the treatment of several diseases and disorders in Europe. In the United States, it is marketed as a dietary supplement; the French and the German agencies consider it to be effective for the treatment of several diseases, and the immense amount of clinical studies concerning Ginkgo biloba makes it worth revising the existing literature about this notable plant. A brief history of the common use of this drug will be followed by a short botanic characterization. The biochemical composition of the original drug, the leaf itself, will be described in detail together with a brief discussion of commercial extracts and the problem of studying Ginkgo biloba clinically to verify the safety and efficacy of its extracts in the treatment of disorders like Alzheimer's diseases. Aspects of molecular mechanisms modifying the efficacy of this drug will be outlined. Several agents like antioxidants, anti-inflammatory drugs, cholinergic agents, estrogens, or neurotrophic factors are in use for the treatment of this neurodegenerative disease, but none can prove fully convincing benefit. In this field, Ginkgo biloba appears as a useful and sensible supplementary medication to treat Alzheimer's disease, as it seems to be a synthesis of all the different profiles of action of the various, commonly used drugs but with less side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Zimmermann, M., Colciaghi, F., Cattabeni, F., & Di Luca, M. (2002). Ginkgo biloba extract: from molecular mechanisms to the treatment of Alzhelmer's disease. Cellular and Molecular Biology, 48(6), 613-623.