Ginkgo biloba extract could bring down the risk of
heart disease in diabetes patients, suggests studies.
Ginkgo biloba L. is one of the oldest known herbal
remedies and has a number of medicinal properties. It is used for chronic cough and loss of bladder control. An extract prepared from Ginkgo biloba
leaves called EGb761 contains flavinoids and terpenes. This extract has been used to treat
circulation problems and to increase memory.
The flavinoid portion has antioxidant properties whereas the terpene
portion reduces platelet activation and aggregation, thus improving circulation. A component of the terpene portion has been
shown to reduce swelling and damage to the brain in stroke patients. Thus, EGb761
has protective effects on the brain as well as blood vessels. In addition, EGb761 also helps to reduce blood glucose in diabetic patients.
Recently, researchers conducted a study to see the
effect of this extract on atherosclerosis in diabetes. Atherosclerosis causes buildup of plaques in
the inner lining of blood vessels. It can lead to thickening of the arteries
and decreases blood supply to various organs supplied by the arteries.
The study was conducted on rats with obese type 2
diabetes. The rats were divided into
three groups of 12 rats each. One group
served as a control whereas the other two were administered 100mg/kg and 200
mg/kg of EGb761 per day for 6 weeks' duration.
At the three-week mark, the carotid arteries of the rats were damaged
using standard techniques. Damage to a
portion of an artery favors the deposition of cholesterol and formation of a
plaque. The plaque then continues to
grow and occludes the artery.
researchers found that rats treated with EGb761 showed a decrease in plaque
formation following the injury. This was
more significant in rats on a higher dose of EGb761 i.e. 200 mg/kg/day. Cell proliferation was lower and apoptosis
of the muscles of the blood vessels was higher in the EGb761 groups. Inflammation was also lower in the EGb761
groups. Other parameters were also
tested, the results of which reinforced the antiatherogenic properties of
The study thus indicates that EGb761 may play an
important role in reducing atherosclerosis and risks for heart diseases in
diabetics. Further studies in humans are required to
establish their use for this purpose.
EGb761, a Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Is Effective
Against Atherosclerosis in Vitro, and in a Rat Model of Type 2 Diabetes. Soo Lim et al; PloS one 2011