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This hard-to-pronounce, tree bark-derived herb has an impressive array of benefits.

By Kathryn Leavitt

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What is It?

From the bark of the French maritime pine growing along the coast of France, Pycnogenol is a trademark name for pine bark extract, which has records dating back to the fourth century BC and the Greek physician Hippocrates, who reportedly used the herb for inflammation. Today, Pycnogenol is still considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, as well as a super-antioxidant, scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress to help prevent disease. It is naturally rich in multiple beneficial compounds, a quality believed to be behind its wide range of benefits.

Use It For:

Research suggests that Pycnogenol offers myriad benefits, supporting heart health by lowering cholesterol; supporting brain and skin health; and helping to prevent diabetes, allergies, asthma, migraines and even the common cold. It is also of special interest for assisting with hot flashes in perimenopause, providing a nonestrogen alternative to hormone therapy. Research has found that it also helps recycle vitamins C and E in the body, providing a double-pronged antioxidant effect.

 Fiber: “Fiber is important to support the digestive tract running smoothly, and it is one of the nutrients that often gets left out during the holiday season when we tend to eat less healthy, more sugary foods,” says Beluska-Turkan.


Solgar Pycnogenol®


The Science:

Recent studies have found that Pycnogenol improves symptoms in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury. A 2021 study found that it improves inattention and impulsivity in children with ADHD after just four weeks of supplementation. A 2019 clinical trial found that in male patients with diabetes, taking Pycnogenol reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and glucose levels, and also improved erectile function, which is considered an early diabetes symptom. Finally, a 2021 study found that Pycnogenol works better than cranberry in reducing UTI frequency in people with recurring infections, and a new clinical trial in progress is looking at Pycnogenol for relieving symptoms of menopause brought on by breast and other gynecological cancer treatments.

How to Take It:

Available as a tablet or capsule, the recommended dose of Pycnogenol ranges from 30 mg to 200 mg daily, depending on the condition. Take with food to avoid stomach upset.

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