Categories: Medicinal plants

6 Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

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Discover the 6 Benefits of Pine Bark Extract.

We all know the power of antioxidants to improve health and the foods rich in antioxidants that we should eat regularly. But did you know that pine bark extract, like pine oil, is one of nature’s super antioxidants? It is true.

What gives pine bark extract its notoriety as a powerful ingredient and super antioxidant is that it is loaded with oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds, OPCs for short.

The same ingredient is found in grape seeds, the skin of peanuts, and the bark of witch hazel. But what is it that makes this miracle ingredient so amazing?6 Benefits of Pine Bark Extract


6 Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

While the OPCs found in this extract are primarily known for their antioxidant benefits, these amazing compounds exude antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergy properties.

Pine Bark Extract may help reduce muscle pain and may help improve conditions related to poor circulation, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, ADHD, female reproductive problems, skin dysfunction erectile dysfunction, eye diseases, and sports endurance.

It sounds like it must be pretty amazing, but let’s take a closer look. The list goes a bit further, as the OPCs in this extract can “inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, capillary permeability, and fragility, and affect enzyme systems,” which means it can be a natural treatment for many serious health conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

1.- Lowers glucose levels, improving the symptoms of diabetes

Pine bark extract has been studied for its ability to help diabetic patients. The Guang An Men Hospital of the China Research Institute of Medical Sciences conducted a study with 77 patients with type II diabetes to determine whether French maritime pine bark extract had antidiabetic effects.


Patients were given 100 milligrams of Pycnogenol®, a brand-name version of pine bark extract, for 12 weeks, with continuous antidiabetic treatment.

The effects of pine bark extract showed significantly lower blood glucose levels and better endothelial function compared to placebo, concluding that Pycnogenol supplementation for conventional diabetes treatment may be beneficial.

2.- Helps prevent hearing loss and balance

Ototoxicity is the poisoning of the ear and can occur when exposed to certain drugs or chemicals, such as cisplatin, that damage the inner ear or vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve affects our balance and hearing by sending signals to the brain.

This condition can be temporary or permanent – however, some studies have indicated that pine bark extract may help alleviate these symptoms due to its high presence of antioxidants.

Therefore, this powerful extract works as a natural remedy for ear infections, while also improving balance and preventing hearing loss.

3.- Avoid infections

Studies have been conducted to review the effects of pine bark extract on Pseudomonas infectious wounds.

These wounds most often occur in hospitals or those with weakened immune systems, such as after surgery.

However, healthy people are not immune and can also develop mild infections, particularly after being in inadequately chlorinated hot tubs or swimming pools.


In a particular study published in Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, researchers investigated the antibacterial activity of pine bark extract essential oil on staph, E. coli, and pseudomonas infections.

Antibacterial activity was evaluated indicating that pine bark essential oil, specifically proanthocyanidins, were effective against P. aeruginosa, significantly inhibiting its growth.

Furthermore, the results showed that the extract has significant “anti-pseudomonal activity”, making it a potential natural remedy and a possible preventative measure for infections.

4.- Protects the skin from exposure to ultraviolet rays

Who doesn’t want amazing skin?

There is a seemingly growing problem with skin exposure to ultraviolet radiation and confusion about how to get vitamin D from the sun while avoiding these skin-damaging rays.

A review of French maritime pine bark extract was conducted, specifically using the nutritional supplement Pycnogenol.

The study provided clear evidence that Pycnogenol does indeed offer photoprotection – however, it came out even better than expected, showing that it can be used to reduce hyperpigmentation in human skin while improving “skin barrier function”. and extracellular matrix homeostasis.

5.- Reduces inflammation

As I mentioned, pine bark extract is superior when it comes to antioxidants. These antioxidants scavenge harmful free radicals to eliminate them and ultimately prevent disease.


Studies were conducted in Turkey on subjects undergoing abdominal surgery to determine if pine bark extract could help reduce inflammation. Pycnogenol was administered for 10 days.

The result showed significant healing compared to the subjects who were not administered any drug or remedy, concluding that Pycnogenol may be an effective remedy for healing surgery-related injuries.

6.- Helps increase athletic performance

Pine bark extract has been studied for its relationship to exercise performance, oxidative stress, and inflammation in the body that has been imposed by exercise.

Research indicates that Pycnogenol provides an increase in endurance performance in trained athletes.

This is accomplished by improving the time it takes for the body to reach a state of fatigue through increased serum NAD+ levels.

Additionally, athletes have endured less cramping and muscle soreness when using the extract.


Muscle recovery time is likely also improved due to the high antioxidants contained in pine bark extract.

History and Interesting Facts of Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract comes from the inner bark of the Pinus pinaster, which is most common in Europe. A popular variety is a maritime pine or maritime pine that grows exclusively along the coast of southwestern France.


This bark extract has been around for about 450 years. In 1534, a French ship led by famed explorer Jacques Cartier was stranded on the ice near Quebec, Canada.

The crew fell extremely ill with scurvy, an extreme lack of vitamin C. Cartier’s crew came across an Indian from Quebec who encouraged them to drink a tea made from pine bark and needles.

Four hundred years later, a French researcher named Jacques Masquelier did some studies to understand why this natural remedy was so effective.

He learned about the seemingly omnipotent antioxidant it contains and how those antioxidants increase the absorption of vitamin C.

Ongoing research has shown that pine bark contains flavonols and bioflavonoids, which have tissue-repairing properties.

Masquelier was able to easily create a pine bark extract from materials that were also known as waste.

Pine Bark Extract vs. Aspirin

1.- Pine bark inhibits coagulation better than aspirin

One surprising study found that pine bark extract was much better than aspirin at “inhibiting smoking-induced clotting,” using lower amounts without the bleeding often found when using aspirin.

2.- Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding

A 15-year Dutch study was published indicating that 27,939 healthy female health professionals were given either aspirin or a placebo over some time.


Although aspirin reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, among other cancers, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding outweighed those benefits, creating more risks for the body.

3.- Both aspirin and pine bark extract eliminate pain

Although both eliminate pain, pine bark extract is a much better option. As noted, aspirin can cause serious gastrointestinal problems.

Pycnogenol has not been found to cause these problems; however, it may take a little longer to feel pain relief than aspirin. However, a natural option is available and it is worth the wait.

Some ways to use pine bark extract

Here are some basic guidelines as reported by WebMD:

•For allergies: 50 milligrams twice a day.

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

•For poor circulation: 45-360 milligrams daily or 50-100 milligrams three times a day.

•For diseases of the retina, including those related to diabetes: 50 milligrams three times a day.


•For mild high blood pressure: 200 milligrams daily.

•To improve exercise capacity in athletes: 200 milligrams daily.

Pine Bark Extract Risks

Although most studies do not indicate any serious side effects, pine bark extract can cause irritability and fatigue and may interact with other medications.

Be sure to consult your doctor before using pine bark extract or the brand name, Pycnogenol.

If you are taking blood thinners, do not take pine bark extract or Pycnogenol unless your doctor approves.

Taking OPCs and vitamin C supplements at the same time has been shown to increase blood pressure if you have high blood pressure.

Final Thoughts on Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract offers some amazing benefits as it is so high in powerful antioxidants.

From diabetes and sexual function to athletic performance and skin beauty, pine bark extract may be worth exploring to provide the results you’re looking to achieve.


Consider pine bark extract through discussion with your doctor or a functional medicine physician.

You can start slowly, taking smaller amounts, to ensure your body is working well with the OPCs found in pine bark extract.

Once you are sure you are not having any negative reactions, you may be able to increase your dose according to the label.


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