Bilobalide is a main constituent of the terpenoids found in Ginkgo leaves. It also exists in minor amounts in the roots. It is a sesquiterpenoid, i.e. it has a 15-carbon skeleton. Its exact synthesis pathway from farnesyl pyrophosphate is still unknown.
Bilobalide is important for producing several of the effects of Gingko biloba extracts, and it has neuroprotective effects, as well as inducing the liver enzymes CYP3A1 and 1A2, which may be partially responsible for interactions between gingko and other herbal medicines or pharmaceutical drugs. Bilobalide has recently been found to be a negative allosteric modulator at the GABAA and GABAA-rho receptors. Of GABAA, it may possibly be selective for the subunits predominantly implicated in cognitive and memory functioning such as α1.