Standard Reference Material Development for Dietary Supplements
derived from Ginkgo biloba

Samuel B. Howerton, Catherine A. Rimmer Lane C. Sander, Stephen A. Wise

Organic Analytical Methods Group

Analytical Chemistry Division

Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory

Ginkgo biloba, a tree of the Ginkgophyta division, has been documented in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of pneumonic tuberculosis and asthma, as well as poor circulation. In the past century, extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves have been used to treat ailments associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders linked to poor cerebral blood circulation. In addition, compounds found in the leaves have been shown to selectively inhibit platelet activation factor, a vasoconstrictor which induces anaphylactic symptoms. As a result of these medicinal effects, the worldwide sale of Ginkgo biloba dietary supplements has been estimated at $1 billion (U.S.).

Despite the large volume of supplements produced and sold, there currently exist no standardized methods for the isolation and purification of the active ingredients, nor any reference material by which label claims can be confirmed. This project seeks to remedy this dearth of information by developing standardized methods by which active ingredients (ginkgolides, flavonoid aglycones) as well as allergens (ginkgolic acids) can be accurately quantitated. In addition, three new Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) will be generated. The SRMs will be useful as control materials for validating analytical methods for the determination of flavonoids, ginkgolides, and ginkgolic acids.

Author Information

Name: Samuel B. Howerton

Division: Analytical Chemistry Division

Laboratory: Chemical Science and Technology

Address: B152, ACSL (Bldg. 227)

Telephone: 975-4756

Fax: 977-0685


Sigma Xi Member: No

Category: Chemistry