chapter  18
20 Pages

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (EGb 761) Modulates Cell Signaling Associated with Amyloid Beta Oligomers in Alzheimer’s Disease

With the World Health Organization’s shift in focus from the treatment of manifest diseases to disease prevention, the use of herbal medicines continues to grow in the United States, as well as many in other countries. A consumer survey in the United States estimated that 49% of all adult Americans had used at least one herbal medicine during the previous year, with 24% acknowledging regular use of herbal medicines for their well-being and for prevention or treatment of chronic diseases [1,2]. Ginkgo leaf extracts (such as EGb 761) is one of the best-selling herbal medicine products in the United States [3]. It has been used for primary neurodegenerative dementias associated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), peripheral vascular diseases, and neurosensory problems (e.g., tinnitus) [4]. The disease prevention theory associated with herbal medicine has the potential to both increase quality of life and reduce health care costs in our society. Substantial experimental evidence supports neuroprotective properties of EGb 761, but the actual mechanisms remain unknown. Application of contemporary neuroscience theories and methodologies may provide a better understanding of the effi cacy of the herbal extract, which may, in turn, facilitate an explanation of the mechanism by which the disease progresses.