Pycnogenol®: A Long History of Use
Medicine men and doctors have prescribed pine bark to treat a variety of conditions for over two thousand years. Hippocrates, considered the founder of modern medicine, used pine bark as a remedy for inflammatory diseases in the 4th
century B.C. Native Americans consumed pine bark in food and drinks and medicinally applied it to inflamed wounds and ulcers (Packer, Rimbach, and Virgili, 1999). When the French explorer Jacques Cartier found his ship stranded in the dead of winter, 1535, the crew began to suffer from scurvy. A friendly Quebec Indian suggested a tea made from pine bark; miraculously, the sailors recovered. In the 1960’s Canadian scientist Jacques Masquelier found Cartier’s writings, searched for the specific species of pine that had saved the explorers, and later, patented this powerful compound under the name Pycnogenol®
(Packer and Colman, 125-126). With the rediscovery of this extremely powerful antioxidant, modern science has begun to document and discover the strong protective and healing properties of Pycnogenol.
A Super Antioxidant
Today, Pycnogenol is extracted from the French maritime pine grown in Southern France. Trees must grow at least 20-25 years before being harvested to guarantee a consistent complex rich in proanthocyanidins (a class of flavonoids), catechin, epicatechin, and taxifolin, as well as other still unidentified components. The raw product – a light rust brown colored powder – gives Pycnogenol crèmes, gels, and lotions
their characteristic color. If a skin care product claims to contain Pycnogenol yet is not colored, it probably does not contain enough Pycnogenol to be therapeutic. [caption id="attachment_997" align="alignleft" width="510"]
By improving microcirculation, Pycnogenol can help reduce under-eye puffiness caused by leaky capillaries (but not fat pads). Pycnogenol strengthens capillaries, preventing leakage, and encourages the capillary system to reabsorb the fluid.[/caption]