Ginkgo biloba extract 761 (EGb 761) is a well-defined extract obtained from Ginkgo biloba leaves according to a standardized method. It has been used extensively for the treatment of diseases related to the central nervous system including neurosensory disturbances, cerebrovascular insufficiency, peripheral vascular disturbances, and degenerative dementia. The potential use of EGb 761 has also been suggested for the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, which is discussed in the current review. These disorders constitute a global epidemic with serious economic and social consequences. Current available treatments with synthetic drugs may have some disadvantages and undesired side effects. There are diverse natural extracts that have been used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders due to their therapeutic action and low rate of side effects, such as EGb 761. EGb 761 has the ability to produce neuroprotection due to its chemical composition and the synergy of its components. We describe several neuroprotective mechanisms of action of EGb 761 such as antioxidant effects, modulation of neurotransmission, neuroendocrine regulation, and upregulation of neurotrophic factors, which underlie its potential therapeutic effect on psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, we discuss the therapeutic effects of EGb 761 both in animal models of psychiatric disorders and in clinical studies that include these pathologies. We focus on depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, as well as the therapeutic action of EGb 761 on dementia in comorbidity with psychiatric disorders. In the current review, we propose the potential use of EGb 761, alone or combined with current medication treatment, for psychiatric disorders.
Keywords: Anxiety, dementia, depression, EGb 761, Ginkgo biloba extract, stress.