Ginkgo biflavone shows promise as an anti-arthritic agent
Flavonoids are chemical compounds widely distributed throughout the
plant world. They have been shown to have a variety of anti-inflammatory
and immunomodulatory activities. A class of flavonoid derivatives called
biflavonoids also shows important anti-inflammatory properties, including
the inhibition of a type of phospholipase involved in the inflammatory
response. A biflavonoid compound from ginkgo called ginkgetin has also
been shown to inhibit the release of arachidonic acid and some of its
metabolites. In combination, these data suggest that ginkgetin is a
powerful anti-inflammatory substance. To test this hypothesis, arthritis
was induced in rats in the laboratory, then treated with ginkgetin or
prednisolone, a synthetic drug. Significant reduction in inflammation
was achieved with ginkgetin injections, but not with oral administration.
Comparison of body and organ weights of rats treated with ginkgetin
or prednisolone revealed that while prednisolone decreased spleen and
thymus weights, ginkgetin did not. The researchers theorize that the
mechanism of ginkgetin's anti-arthritic activity is different than that
of prednisolone. A subsequent test also demonstrated that ginkgetin
has analgesic activity.
Kim H, Son K, Chang H, et
al. Inhibition of rat adjuvant-induced arthritis by ginkgetin, a
biflavone from Ginkgo biloba leaves. Planta Med 1999; 65: 465-467.
© 2003 by Herb Research Foundation,
Boulder, CO, USA.