Pycnogenol® (Pik-nah-gen-all) is a water extract from the bark of the French maritime pine grown as a mono-species forest, spread over the coastal region of south-west France. The unique source of Pycnogenol®, the "pine bark" has a well-established monograph based on macroscopic and microscopic findings defining its pharmacogonistic characteristics, an essential feature of the quality confirmation.

Pycnogenol® is produced by a validated manufacturing process following good agricultural practice (GAP) and good manufacturing practice (GMP). There is absolutely no application of pesticides during the growing of pine trees or toxic solvents during the manufacture of Pycnogenol®, there can be no pesticide or solvent in the finished active substance.

Pycnogenol® represents a natural blend of genetically programmed constant proportions of bioflavonoids including catechin, epicatechin, taxifolin, monomers, dimers of catechin and epicatechin, oligomeric procyanidnins and phenolic fruit acids such as ferulic acid and caffeic acid.

As one of the most potent natural scavenger of free radicals, Pycnogenol® mops-up all kinds of aggressive radicals, before they cause any damage by oxidative stress. Pycnogenol® boosts the immune system and it strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries. It supports a better circulation by preventing stress-induced constriction of arteries and blood clotting. Additionally the extract contains substances, which act against cramps.

What is Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is the US registered trademark name for a product derived from the pine bark of a tree known as Pinus pinaster. The active ingredients in pycnogenol can also be extracted from other sources, including peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark.

Pycnogenol is used for treating circulation problems, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disease of the female reproductive system called endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, painful menstrual periods, erectile dysfunction (ED), and an eye disease called retinopathy.
It is also used for preventing disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke, heart disease, and varicose veins. Pycnogenol is used to slow the aging process, maintain healthy skin, improve athletic endurance, and improve male fertility. Some people use skin creams that contain pycnogenol as "anti-aging" products.

Where it is found
The source of Pycnogenol® is a large forest of millions of acres in South-West France near the famous Bordeaux region. That forest is a plantation of French maritime pine trees. The pine trees are cultivated over a period of 30-50 years. Neither pesticides nor herbicides are used in that forest.

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Benefits / uses

Pycnogenol for women
Women are exposed to stress in the same way as men. Therefore, protection of arteries against blood clotting and constriction is also important for women to reduce the risk of heart infarction or stroke. Many women suffer from problems related to bad circulation: Swelling of the lower legs, cold hands and tendency to easy bruising for example. By sealing the capillaries and enhancing the microcirculation Pycnogenol® will be a relief. Another point of great interest for women is the protection of the skin against photo-ageing. Intake of Pycnogenol® reduces the risks of UV-radiation and oxidative stress for the skin. Finally, Pycnogenol® soothes menstrual disorders like cramps and pain.

It seems that nature has combined the constituents of the pine bark in a way to improve quality of life especially for women.

Pycnogenol® and beauty of the skin
Pycnogenol® binds and protects collagen, the protein that keeps the skin tight and smooth. Enzymes and free radicals can no longer break down collagen and elastin fibers, the process enabling development of wrinkles. Pycnogenol® defies the accelerated ageing of the skin due to exposure to sunlight (photo-ageing). Pycnogenol® helps to lighten-up disturbing dark spots of the skin resulting from over-pigmentation. Pycnogenol® restores a good blood circulation in tiny capillaries of the skin. With abundance of water and oxygen and removal of waste products the skin is replenished with moisture, looking young and fresh.

Benefits of Pycnogenol to stressed business people
Stress means your adrenaline is flowing during traffic jam, demanding phone calls and loads of bad news, that you smoke too much, if you are a smoker. Pycnogenol® counteracts the increase in blood pressure caused by stress and it helps to prevent the clotting of blood, which may occur in case of stress and smoking. Business people have to work in a sitting position and have to travel a lot. Pycnogenol® helps against swollen feet and reduced circulation caused by that immobile life style. Intake of Pycnogenol® may increase cognitive function, reduce the risks of stress and will prevent consequences of immobility.

Diabetes and Pycnogenol
Diabetes produces oxidative stress and continuously damages blood vessels. The protective action of Pycnogenol® for blood vessels and capillaries helps to keep blood vessels in diabetes well functioning. Of course, a strict normalization of blood glucose is the best way to prevent these damages. Often a retinopathy is observed in diabetics. Without protection diabetics often develop retinopathy: Tiny capillaries nourishing the retina of the eye spill blood onto the retina causing vision loss. Intake of Pycnogenol® has been found to reduce the micro bleedings in the retina and to improve eyesight.

Pycnogenol help to smokers
For smokers, unable to quit smoking, Pycnogenol® gives a protection against the cardio-vascular risks by preventing the clotting of blood platelets, caused by smoking. Furthermore Pycnogenol® inhibits the nicotine-induced constriction of blood vessels. Both effects together help to reduce the risk of clogged arteries and veins, the primary cause of heart infarction and stroke.

Chronic bronchitis and asthma
Asthma and chronic bronchitis are both caused by chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Intake of Pycnogenol® decreases the amount of circulating inflammatory substances in the blood stream and has been shown to improve asthma symptoms and the lung function. It inhibits additionally those enzymes responsible for the destruction of lung tissue in chronic bronchitis.

Sports and Pycnogenol®
Sport always creates oxidative stress, as the metabolism rises, reflected by a 10-20 fold increase of inhaled oxygen. Trained athletes cope with oxidative stress by an increased production of anti-oxidative enzymes, protecting their cells against the burst of free radicals. That's exactly what Pycnogenol® does: It stimulates the cells to produce more anti-oxidative enzymes and free radical scavengers. An investigation with recreational athletes on a treadmill has shown that Pycnogenol® increased endurance. Pycnogenol® protects against the overload of free radicals and allows a better performance

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


arw For allergies: 50 mg twice daily.

arw For asthma in children: 1 mg per pound of body weight given in two divided doses.

arw For poor circulation: 45-360 mg daily, or 50-100 mg three times daily.

arw For diseases of the retina, including those related to diabetes: 50 mg three times daily.

arw For mild high blood pressure: 200 mg of pycnogenol daily.

arw For improving exercise capacity in athletes: 200 mg daily.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Pycnogenol is possibly safe when taken in doses of 50 mg to 450 mg daily for up to 6 months.
Pycnogenol can cause dizziness, gut problems, headache, and mouth ulcers.

Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Preliminary research suggests pycnogenol might be safe in late pregnancy. But until more is known, pycnogenol should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Pycnogenol might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using pycnogenol.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Pycnogenol seems to increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, pycnogenol might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.

Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

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arw Wu, Xianli; Gu, Liwei; Prior, Ronald L.; McKay, Steve (2004). "Characterization of Anthocyanins and Proanthocyanidins in Some Cultivars ofRibes,Aronia, andSambucusand Their Antioxidant Capacity". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52 (26): 7846–56. doi:10.1021/jf0486850. PMID 15612766.

arw Gu, Liwei; Kelm, Mark A.; Hammerstone, John F.; Beecher, Gary; Holden, Joanne; Haytowitz, David; Gebhardt, Susan; Prior, Ronald L. (March 2004). "Concentrations of proanthocyanidins in common foods and estimations of normal consumption". The Journal of nutrition 134 (3): 613–7. PMID 14988456.

arw Gu, Liwei; House, Suzanne E.; Wu, Xianli; Ou, Boxin; Prior, Ronald L. (2006). "Procyanidin and Catechin Contents and Antioxidant Capacity of Cocoa and Chocolate Products". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54 (11): 4057–61. doi:10.1021/jf060360r. PMID 16719534.

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arw Rohdewald, P (2002). "A review of the French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), a herbal medication with a diverse clinical pharmacology". International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics 40 (4): 158–68. PMID 11996210.

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arw a b Sánchez-Moreno, Concepción; Cao, Guohua; Ou, Boxin; Prior, Ronald L. (2003). "Anthocyanin and Proanthocyanidin Content in Selected White and Red Wines. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Comparison with Nontraditional Wines Obtained from Highbush Blueberry". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51 (17): 4889–96. doi:10.1021/jf030081t. PMID 12903941.

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arw Shi, John; Yu, Jianmel; Pohorly, Joseph E.; Kakuda, Yukio (2003). "Polyphenolics in Grape SeedsBiochemistry and Functionality". Journal of Medicinal Food 6 (4): 291–9. doi:10.1089/109662003772519831. PMID 14977436.

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arw Grape Juice Beats Wine in New Antioxidant Tests <