Skip to content

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

PYCNOGENOL

Other Names:

Condensed Tannins, Écorce de Pin, Écorce de Pin Maritime, Extrait d’Écorce de Pin, French Marine Pine Bark Extract, French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Leucoanthocyanidins, Maritime Bark Extract, Oligomères de Procyanidine, Oligomères Procyanidol...
See All Names

PYCNOGENOL Overview
PYCNOGENOL Uses
PYCNOGENOL Side Effects
PYCNOGENOL Interactions
PYCNOGENOL Dosing
PYCNOGENOL Overview Information

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.

How does it work?

Pycnogenol contains substances that might improve blood flow. It might also stimulate the immune system and have antioxidant effects.

PYCNOGENOL Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Allergies. Some research shows that taking pycnogenol before allergy season begins might reduce allergy symptoms in people with birch allergies.
  • Asthma. Taking pycnogenol daily, along with asthmamedications, seems to decrease asthma symptoms and the need for rescue inhalers in children and adults with asthma.
  • Athletic performance. Young people (age 20-35 years) seem to be able to exercise on a treadmill for a longer time after taking pycnogenol daily for about a month.
  • Circulation problems. Taking pycnogenol by mouth seems to reduce leg pain and heaviness, as well as fluid retention, in people with circulation problems. Some people use horse chestnut seed extract to treat this condition, but using pycnogenol alone appears to be more effective.
  • Mental function. Research suggests that taking pycnogenol improves mental function and memory in both young adults and the elderly.
  • Disease of the retina in the eye. Taking pycnogenol daily for 2 months seems to slow or prevent further worsening of retinal disease caused by diabetes, atherosclerosis, or other diseases. It also seems to improve eyesight.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Taking pycnogenol by mouth does not seem to help ADHD symptoms in adults. However, taking pycnogenol daily for one mouth appears to improve symptoms in children.
  • Clogged arteries (coronary artery disease). There is some evidence that taking 150 mg of pynogenol three times daily for 4 weeks might help improve some complications associated with clogged arteries.
  • Blood clots in deep veins (deep vein thrombosis, DVT). There is some evidence that taking a specific combination product (Flite Tabs) might help to prevent DVT during long-haul plane flights. The product combines a blend of 150 mg of pycnogenol plus nattokinase. Two capsules are taken 2 hours before the flight and then again 6 hours later. Also, taking pycnogenol 100 mg before a flight, 6 hours after the flight, and the following day appears to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the veins during long flights.
  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that chewing at least 6 pieces of gum with added pycnogenol for 14 days reduces bleeding and prevents increased plaque.
  • Diabetes. Early evidence suggests that taking 50-200 mg of pycnogenol daily for 3-12 weeks slightly decreases blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • Circulation problems in diabetes. Early research shows that taking 50 mg of pycnogenol three times daily for 4 weeks improves circulation and symptoms in people with diabetes.
  • Swelling (edema). Early research suggests that taking 100 mg of pycnogenol before a flight, 6 hours after the flight, and once the next day reduces swelling and ankle swelling.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Limited research suggests that pycnogenol, used alone or in combination with L-arginine, might improve sexual function in men with ED. It seems to take up to 3 months of treatment for significant improvement.
  • Heart failure. Early research suggests that taking a specific combination of pycnogenol and coenzyme Q10 (PycnoQ10) for 12 weeks improves some symptoms of heart failure
  • .
  • Hemorrhoids. Early research suggests that taking pycnogenol by mouth, alone or in combination with a pycnogenol cream, improves quality of life and symptoms of hemorrhoids.
  • High cholesterol. Pycnogenol seems to lower “bad cholesterol” (low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol).
  • High blood pressure. Pycnogenol seems to lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) but does not significantly lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
  • Leg cramps. There is some evidence that taking 200 mg of pycnogenol daily might decrease leg cramps.
  • Menopausal symptoms. Early research shows that taking pycnogenol by mouth decreases menopausal symptoms, including tiredness, headache, depression and anxiety, and hot flashes.
  • Migraine. Early research suggests that taking pine bark extract (Enzogenol) by mouth in combination with vitamins E and C, daily for 3 months reduces the severity and likelihood of developing a migraine headache.
  • Osteoarthritis. There is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of pycnogenol for osteoarthritis. Pycnogenol might reduce overall symptoms, but it does not seem to reduce pain or improve the ability to perform daily tasks
  • Pain in late pregnancy. Early research suggests that taking 30 mg of pycnogenol daily reduces lower back pain, hip joint pain, pelvic pain, and pain due to varicose veins or calf cramps in the last 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Pelvic pain in women. There is early evidence that pycnogenol might help reduce pelvic pain in women with endometriosis or severe menstrual cramps.
  • Skin aging. Early research suggests that taking pycnogenol for 12 weeks improves symptoms of skin aging.
  • Ulcers due to diabetes. Early research suggests that taking pycnogenol by mouth daily and applying it to the skin heals ulcers related to diabetes.
  • Improving symptoms of lupus (SLE). Early research suggests that taking pycnogenol reduces symptoms of SLE in some patients.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Early research suggests that taking 100-150 mg of pycnogenol daily for 34 days reduces tinnitus symptoms.
  • Stroke prevention.
  • Muscle soreness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate pycnogenol for these uses.


PYCNOGENOL Side Effects & Safety

Pycnogenol is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in doses of 50 mg to 450 mg daily for up to one year, and when applied to the skin as a cream for up to 7 days or as a powder for up to 6 weeks. Pycnogenol can cause dizziness, gut problems, headache, and mouth ulcers.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Early research suggests that pycnogenol is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in late pregnancy. However, until more is known, pycnogenol should be used cautiously or avoided by women who are pregnant.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking pycnogenol if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Pycnogenol is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, short-term.

“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.

Bleeding conditions: In theory, high doses of pycnogenol might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding conditions.

Diabetes: In theory, high doses of pycnogenol might decrease blood sugar too much in people with diabetes.

Surgery: Pycnogenol might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might increase the chance of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using pycnogenol at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

PYCNOGENOL Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with PYCNOGENOL

    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.


PYCNOGENOL Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For allergies: 50 mg twice daily.
  • For asthma in children: 1 mg per pound of body weight given in two divided doses.
  • For poor circulation: 45-360 mg daily, or 50-100 mg three times daily.
  • For diseases of the retina, including those related to diabetes: 50 mg three times daily.
  • For mild high blood pressure: 200 mg of pycnogenol daily.
  • For improving exercise capacity in athletes: 200 mg daily.

See 53 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.