Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ginkgo Herbal Supplements Vary Widely In Content

Date:
June 21, 1999
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Consumers of Ginkgo biloba herbal products, offered in alternative medicine circles as a remedy for just about everything from dementia to impotence, may not be getting their money's worth, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Idaho.

Consumers of Ginkgo biloba herbal products, offered in alternative medicine circles as a remedy for just about everything from dementia to impotence, may not be getting their money's worth, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Idaho. Using a new analytical chemistry technique they developed specifically to examine Ginkgo samples, the researchers found variations of up to tenfold in the Ginkgo products they tested.

Related Articles


"Consumers seldom can be sure exactly what they are buying," says chemistry professor Chen Wai, Ph.D., lead researcher for the study, which was published in the science journal Analytical Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.

"The large variation of active ingredients found in Ginkgo biloba products could be a problem for the consumers," the researchers write in the journal article.

Ginkgo products are based on herbal extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, also known as the maidenhair tree, which first appeared on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs about 200 million years ago. Widely marketed as a way of improving mental alertness and slowing the development of Alzheimer's disease, Ginkgo supplements are among the top selling herbal products in both Europe and the U.S. and have long been a staple of Chinese herbalists.

Chemical substances known as ginkgolides and bilobalide, found in the leaves of the tree, are believed to be the most pharmacologically active compounds, say the researchers. However, they point out, as is the case with many herbal products, the active ingredients are usually present in only trace amounts along with large quantities of other compounds. Determining the amount of ginkgolides and bilobalide in Ginkgo products generally is a time-consuming and tedious process, which has added to the difficulty of establishing efficient quality control programs for the products, claim the researchers.

"The lack of simple and reliable separation and analytical processes for herbal products is probably a major cause of the quality-related problems found in the herbal medicine market today," according to the researchers.

The process developed by Wai and colleague Qingyong Lang could help solve that problem by reducing the time required to separate the active ingredients from hours to just a few minutes. It essentially involves boiling the leaves of the tree, or Ginkgo extract products, to separate the ginkgolides and bilobalide and then using a common analytical instrument called a gas chromatograph to measure the compounds.

"Compared to other reported methods for ginkgolide separation, this method can significantly reduce the operation time," say the researchers. "The principle of this analytical method may also be applied to other medicinal herbs," they add.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Ginkgo Herbal Supplements Vary Widely In Content." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990621043118.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (1999, June 21). Ginkgo Herbal Supplements Vary Widely In Content. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990621043118.htm
American Chemical Society. "Ginkgo Herbal Supplements Vary Widely In Content." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990621043118.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins