Pycnogenol

Botanicals

18/Description

About

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 it works

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

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
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 asthma medications, 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.

Concerns

Possibly safe

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.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Early research suggests that pycnogenol isPOSSIBLY SAFEwhen used in late pregnancy. However, until more is known, pycnogenol should be used cautiously or avoided by women who arepregnant.Are there any interactions with medications?

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.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Pycnogenol might decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking pycnogenol along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others. The mechanism of action is unclear.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 might slow blood clotting. Taking pycnogenol along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional. The content on this page has been provided with thanks by RxList.com