Pycnogenol, more commonly known as Pine bark is actually not the bark but the extract from the bark of Pinus pinaster.
A native plant of mainly the south-western part of France, This plant needs to be cultivated over a period ranging from 30 to as long as 50 years.
The Bordeaux region of France is the most popularly cultivated for this French maritime pine trees. The pycnogenol in the pine trees contain almost 65-70% proanthocyanidins that is an essential nutrient for curing several diseases in the human body.
This means that for every 100 grams of its intake there is almost 65-70 grams of proanthocyanidins.
This is a compound of a natural antioxidant also available in apples, cocoa beans, grape seeds, grape skins and even black tea, green tea and cranberry.
Back in 1534, Jacques Cartier was introduced to the pine trees by the native Indians of Quebec, when he found this to be the cure for scurvy. Later in 1947, Professor Jack Masquelier from the University Of Bordeaux, France, worked on the extracts of this plant and discovered its hidden benefits.
The pycnogenol has triple action of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids that work as a versatile source of anti inflammatory substances, stimulator of generating collagen and hyaluronic acid and helps with the production of endothelial nitric oxide that in turn aids in natural dilation of blood vessels. There are three kinds of bioflavonoids found in pycnogenol namely, catechin, epicatechin, and taxifolin.
For diabetic patients, it helps in controlling the blood sugar flow and for cardiac issues and erectile dysfunctions as well, the nitric oxide content aids in regulating the functions. It further improves cholesterol level, blood pressure and for varicose veins in the body as well. Its single efficiency in regulating the blood flow has multiple benefits in the human body.
It is an excellent cure for stress related blockages in blood vessels and arteries and due to its blood flow regulating capacity. It increases the immunity in the body and makes us more energetic as well. It also can work against cramps in the body. During stress the radicals exhibited from our body can adversely affect our body’s vitality and youth. Excessive radical can cause early aging.
Pycnogelnol catches the radicals flowing through our blood stream and provides double protection to the cells by making them antioxidant rich.
Another rising health issue that has affected over 250 million people worldwide is a ear ringing disease known as Tinnitus mainly caused due to noise exposure.
It can also occur due to head or neck trauma, cardiovascular disease or health disorders. For such victims, pycogenol helps by increasing internal blood flow and relieves individuals of the symptoms of tinnitus.
For women especially, this discovery has been a good friend to many ailments. Due to bad blood circulation women suffer from cold hands and feet, swelling of legs and easy bruises. It relieves women from the severe pains during menstrual cycle and pain caused due to late pregnancy.
The micro-circulation of blood is enhanced with pycnogenol and this has further helped in reducing the adverse effects of the UV radiations and oxidation impacts on the skin. It prevents melanogenesis and reduces risks of skin pigmentation.
Pycnogenol acts in synergy with the essential vitamins that we consume and leaves them free from any effect. This helps in retaining the nutritive effect of the vitamins C and E which in turn provide benefits to us.
As an anti-inflammatory substance, pycnogenol helps to reduce inflammation in the lungs and arteries. The respiratory system is relieved of any subsequent risk of inflammation, the most common of which are asthma and chronic bronchitis.
The lung tissues get inflammation as a result of which they suffer from these problems. Pyncnogenol prevents clogged arteries and this helps even the chained smokers who fail to quit smoking despite several trials.
Pycnogenol in pine trees has common curing properties like Garcinia Cambogia that also works as an effective anti inflammatory product due to its anthocyanine component.
Garcinia Cambogia, like Pycnogenol can help in fighting cholesterol rise and provide a healthy heart. In later stages of diabetes, patients often suffer from diabetic retinopathy (blindness due to diabetes) and pycnogenol improves vision for such individuals.
Although, no serious ailments have been reported in the use of pycnogenol yet, no valid report has been published on its safety of consumption for children below 6 years of age. Also, patients suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy should reconsider its use or use it under doctor’s supervision.
Even patients undergoing radiation therapy are advised not to consume it. Even pregnant women or those who are breast feeding are recommended not to use it. However, post pregnancy period is safer for its use.
Excess use (or intake of the drugs made from the content of the bark of the pine tree) without any equivalence with the age or weight of the user can cause headache, dizziness, mouth ulcers and gut problems. Hence, with prior research and proper advice from a dietician or doctor is safer for first time user.
There is no prescribed amount of how much should be consumed as it depends on individuals. On an average 25-100 milligram of it can be safe for general health concerns like better skin, smoother blood flow or greater immunity.
However, the dosage varies with the body’s requirement and this can stretch as much as up to 400 milligrams a day as well.
Be it a fruit like Garcinia Cambogia or a bark extract like pycnogenol, we all know and should implement a basic safety step of doing enough research before experimenting on the consumption of the product.
The market out there is ready to sell anything and everything but with prior advices from experts and our mental determination we should choose what suits us the most.
Remember, no one knows your body better than you. Do not force yourself to consume something just to follow the trend.
Although, with extracts like these there are lesser chances of side effects yet, being careful is always good.