Ginkgo Biloba - Quality Process for World Leader
Thursday, August 1st 2002
Best exemplifying the vast potential of plant remedies within the standards of modern medicine, is an extract made from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree.
With over 400 published studies -primarily in the management of cerebrovascular and peripheral circulatory disorders -Ginkgo biloba Extract (EGb761)is one of the most frequently prescribed herbal remedies both in Europe and worldwide.
Modern pharmacological research into the active constituents of Ginkgo leaves began in the late 1950s. Spearheaded by the Dr Wilmar Schwabe GmbH company of Germany. Twenty years of research resulted in a standardised, concentrated extract of Ginkgo leaves known internationally as EGb761 (only sold as Ginkgold ® and Tebonin EGb761in New Zealand). The twenty seven step extraction process requires 50 kgs of ginkgo leaves to make one kilogram of the extract and takes up to two weeks to complete.
Most critical to the extraction process and final product is the standardisation of two groups of active components: ginkgo flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. The 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides content Egb761 carefully measured balance of three bioflavonoids known as quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. This group of constituents is primarily responsible for EGb761's antioxidant activity and ability to inhibit platelet aggregation.
The group of constituents most unique to EGb761, however, are the terpene lactones - which constitute 6%of the final extract. One group, known as ginkgolides, improves circulation and has platelet-activating factor (PAF) antagonistic properties. The other terpene lactone, bilobalide, has been shown to have neuroprotective properties and may actually stimulate regeneration of damaged nerve cells.
The primary uses for EGb761 in Europe and worldwide include cerebrovascular insufficiency and intermittent claudication.EGb761 is also licensed in Germany for the supportive treatment of sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus, head injury, macular degeneration and impotence.
Encompassed under the designation "cerebrovascular insufficiency " are dementia, resistant depression, vertigo and tinnitus. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of EGb761 in the management of cerebrovascular insufficiency. Using daily doses of 120 to 240 mg of EGb761, research has indicated an improvement in the symptoms listed above within six to twelve weeks. Studies have ranged in length from six weeks to twelve months. The potential for EGb761 in the area of dementia of arteriosclerotic origin and also for persons recovering from strokes is notable. EGb761 is a common prescription for depressed geriatric patients who are not responding to standard drug therapy. Current research is also showing promising results using EGb761 in the early stages of senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type.
Improves circulation to the extremities
EGb761 is used as an intervention for persons with intermittent claudication (pain in the legs with walking). Using doses of 120 to 160 mg daily for three to six months, EGb761 has led to an increase in pain-free walking distance and increased blood flow to the affected limbs. EGb761 is being considered in the long-term management of Raynauds syndrome.
For preventive use and for circulation problems to the extremities, EGb761 is recommended at a daily dose of 120 mg in divided doses. Daily dosages of 240 mg are required for cases of cerebrovascular insufficiency, early stage Alzheimer's disease, resistant depression and impotence. An initial six to eight week period is recommended to ascertain the effectiveness. Side effects are very rare. Some people with cerebrovascular insufficiency may experience a mild, transient headache for the first one or two days of use due to an increase in blood flow.
Reproduced unabridged from the August September 2002 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
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