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Ginkgo biloba Extract (EGb 761): Pharmacological Activities and Clinical Applications.
by F. V. DeFeudis. 1991. Elsevier Scientific Editions, Paris. Softcover. 187 pp. $59.95. ISBN 2-906077-24-0. Available from ABC Books.

It is an often-cited fact that the extract of Ginkgo biloba is the largest-selling phytomedicine in Europe, with annual worldwide sales estimated at over $500 million. Scientific and medical research into the extracts of the Ginkgo leaf was pioneered by the W. Schwabe Company of Germany, whose specific standardized extract is known as EGb 761. This present volume constitutes the most up-to-date overview of the scientific research on this remarkable plant extract. Included are chapters detailing the chemical composition of the extract, in vitro and in vivo studies and clinical and pharmacological studies, safety issues, and theoretical considerations concerning the mechanisms of action with this complex, well-defined herbal extract. It has been shown to have at least several, and possibly many active components and thus, says the author, it is "impossible to discover a single mode, or mechanism of action." However, extensive research shows that there are at least two major "conce pts of action" that are apparent from the author's analysis of the many research studies: "cognition-enhancing "and "vaso-regulatory" activities.

DeFeudis acknowledges that the conclusions that he has drawn regarding the activity of this extract will remain "necessarily tentative" at this time. Hopefully, this volume will encourage even further scientific research into what are promising applications for the use of standardized ginkgo extract in a number of clinical applications, particularly in cardiovascular disorders as well as certain cognitive disorders that affect the elderly. This book is not intended for the general public or a lay reader, but instead, it is a technical review of much of the experimental and clinical scientific research that has been conducted on Ginkgo over the last 25 years. Accordingly, this book would be a welcome addition to the literature for pharmacists, physicians, and other health professionals interested in this promising European phytomedicine.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.