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Ginkgo Extract May Be Beneficial for Neuropathic Pain

Last Updated: June 11, 2009.

A Ginkgo biloba extract appeared to reduce pain sensitivity in rats with neuropathic pain, according to research published in the June issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- A Ginkgo biloba extract appeared to reduce pain sensitivity in rats with neuropathic pain, according to research published in the June issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Yee Suk Kim, M.D., of the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, and colleagues analyzed data from 50 Sprague-Dawley rats that developed neuropathy following ligation of the left L5 and L6 spinal nerves. Rats were treated with intraperitoneal saline as controls or varying doses of the Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb 761 (50, 100, 150, or 200 milligrams per kilogram). Researchers repeatedly assessed mechanical and cold allodynia at numerous points for three hours following treatment using von Frey filaments and acetone, respectively.

The researchers found that groups treated with the higher doses showed increased withdrawal thresholds on the mechanical test, and groups treated with all the doses showed reduced withdrawal frequency on the cold test. The duration of the pain-reduction effects increased in a dose-dependent manner, and lasted for two hours at the highest dose.

"In conclusion, intraperitoneal administration of Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb 761, attenuated the mechanical and cold allodynia displayed by spinal nerve-ligated rats, but sedation and motor disturbance were observed at the highest doses. This suggests that Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb 761, may exert an analgesic effect in neuropathic pain patients. However, side effects, such as sedation or motor disturbance, must be considered at the highest doses," the authors write.

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