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Pycnogenol is a "natural" product that is used in various dietary supplements and is claimed to help with many different medical conditions. It is made from the bark of French maritime pine trees and is claimed to have several health benefits, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as stimulating the immune system. Side effects of Pycnogenol may include headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

What Is Pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol® is a patented extract made from the bark of French maritime pine trees. It is used as an active ingredient in a variety of different dietary supplements. Do not confuse it with the term "pycnogenols," a general term used to describe some of the active components of Pycnogenol. Other sources, such as grape seed extract, contain pycnogenols, but they are not the same thing.
This extract is claimed to be useful for treating various medical conditions.
(Click Benefits of Pycnogenol for more information on what it is used for.)

Who Makes Pycnogenol?

It is made by Horphage Research, a European company. The extract is used in many different dietary supplements, which are made by many different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Pycnogenol contains a number of different active components and may have several different effects in the human body. Specifically, many of the health benefits of the extract may be attributed to the following properties:
  • Antioxidant effects -- It seems to have significant antioxidant potential, protecting cells from free-radical damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects -- It may have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
  • An immune stimulant -- Research suggests that it may stimulate the immune system.
  • Strengthening collagen and elastin -- It seems to strengthen collagen and elastin in the body.
  • Lowering blood pressure --It may slightly decrease blood pressure due to several different mechanisms.
Because it contains so many different active components, more information about how exactly it works will likely become available in the future as more research is done.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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