A new study has suggested that a standardized extract from ginkgo biloba – the oldest surviving tree species on earth – effectively reduces inflammation and some types of pain.
The ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 reduces abnormal responses to heat pain (thermal hyperalgesia), with an effect similar to that of a commonly used pain reliever, said Sharron Dolan of Glasgow Caledonian University, U.K., and her colleagues.
“These studies indicate that EGb 761 may offer therapeutic benefit for the treatment of postinjury-associated thermal hyperalgesia and acute inflammation,” they said.
The researchers used a standard technique to induce pain and inflammation in the paws of rats. They then compared the effects of treatment with EGb 761, a standardized gingko formulation; and diclofenac—a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat arthritis and other painful conditions.
These treatments were given in two different ways: local injection into the paw and central (intrathecal) injection into the spinal canal.
At both injection sites, EGb 761 had significant pain-reducing effects. In reducing thermal hyperalgesia, it was just as effective as diclofenac.
The ginkgo extract effectively reduced swelling in the paw swelling, even when injected into the spinal canal.
The report will be published in the May issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia.