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Pine Bark Extract: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects

There are more than a hundred varieties of pine trees out there. The bark of these trees especially the maritime or cluster variety has been identified to have health benefits and thus the extract of pine bark is in the limelight nowadays. In this article, let’s have a look at everything you need to know about pine bark extracts. Come on!

 

How was it discovered?

The needles, resins, barks, leaves, and nuts of these trees have been used by various cultures since ancient times. In 1535, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier and his crew cured Scurvy by drinking tea infused with pine bark.  This noteworthy incident was written down in literature which inspired a researcher named Jacques Masquelier to study it.  His studies revealed that proanthocyanidins like pycnogenols were responsible for the curing ability of pine bark extracts as it has an excellent immune support supplement. Thus the hidden superpower of the pine bark was revealed and is still scientifically explored.

 

How is it made?

Pine tree bark is first broken into small pieces and ground well. This is then mixed with hot water and kept aside for a few hours. After that, the solids settle down and the liquid portion is separated using liquid extraction. The liquid thus obtained is pine bark extract and can be either used as it is or can be freeze-dried into powder to add to pine bark supplements.

 

Benefits of pine bark extracts

1. The Proanthocyanidins in pine bark extracts are very powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents (Even more powerful than vitamin C and E). Pycnogenols, the patented form of pine bark extracts, have been scientifically proven to reduce oxidative damages and prevent oxidative stress.

     

    2. Oxidative stress over a long time can lead to the development of various detrimental diseases, thus pine bark gives indirect protection against diseases like diabetes, cancer, premature aging, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases.

       

      3. In a recent study, Pine bark extracts when combined with arginine were shown to help with erectile dysfunction and lack of libido. This might be primarily due to the NO producing activity of both of them. NO helps to relax blood vessels.

         

        4. Pine bark extracts help to fight off infections due to their remarkable immune-supporting abilities. It has antiviral, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and anti-cancerous properties as well.

           

          5. It helps to enhance your memory due to its ability to reduce oxidative damage to the brain cells.

             

            6. Oral supplementation of pine bark extracts can help to protect your skin against harmful UV-B rays and keep its barrier perfect. It also helps to reduce hyperpigmentation.

               

              7. Regular consumption of Pine bark extracts can reduce the production of cytokines, which are inflammation-causing substances. This ability helps to alleviate inflammation and related ailments like arthritis and autoimmune disorders.

                 

                8. Pine bark extracts also inhibit the deposit of fats in body tissues which proves to be very beneficial as it greatly reduces the risk of obesity, fatty liver, and cardiovascular diseases.

                   

                  Do pine bark extracts have any side effects?

                  To this date, pine bark extracts haven’t shown any side effects in the recommended amount. Yet, it’s always better to have professional advice before supplementing it to small children, pregnant or lactating women, and older adults.

                   

                  There we are. Impressive, isn’t it? Are you planning to include pine bark extract supplements in your daily regime? Comment below!

                   

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