Introduction of Pycnogenol:Maritime pine or Monterey pine bark preparation.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Pycnogenol, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Pinus maritima., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Pycnogenol, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Pycnogenol(Maritime pine extract).

Pine bark:herb photo English Name: Pycnogenol.
 Latin Name: Pinus pinaster Aiton (previously termed Pinus maritima Mill.)., Pinus radiata.
 Common Names: Maritime pine extract, Monterey pine extract, Pine bark extract, Pycnogenol
 Property and flavor: bitter and puckery.

 Brief introduction: Pycnogenol is an extract of certain pine trees, most commonly the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima, sometimes referred to as Pinus nigra var.maritima. It is an antioxidant and consists of a proprietary blend of biologically active substances called flavonoids. It refers to the group of flavonoids known as flavan-3-ol derivatives.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Pycnogenol as a herbal extract of the species (1).Pinus maritima. It is a plant species of the Pinus Linn genus, the Pinaceae family (pine family). The bark is used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Pinus maritima.

 Pinus pinaster Aiton Botanical description: The maritime pine tree, Pinus pinaster Aiton (previously termed Pinus maritima Mill.), or Pinus radiata, can grow up to a height of 30 meters or even up to 40 meters, often with a graceful, brown to bright red-brown, winding trunk with deeply fissured bark.

 Large branches sometimes droop, forming a spire-shaped crown, branches grow once a year, sometimes multiple times. The bark is very thick, scaly, plated, fissured, and patterned red-brown, black, and buff. Branchlets are reddish brown, without white powder; winter buds are oblong, brown, and resin-free. Conifers with 2 needles in a bundle, 10~20 cm long, 2 mm in diameter, thick and hard, twisted, light green; semicircular cross-section, two to three layers of subcutaneous cells, and discontinuous in the shape of an inverted triangle under the epidermis distribution, 6 resin channels, middle-aged.

 The shoots are buff to yellow-brown, and the buds are large and fringed with white hairs. The leaves are green to yellow-green. They have stout needles occurring in clusters and produce oval cones 10 to 20 cm long.

 The cones are large, with short stems, often clustered, conical-oval or elliptic-oval, 9~18 cm long, symmetrical or nearly symmetrical, the seed scales open late when mature; the scale shield of the seed scales is strong elevated, light brown, scale-umbilical protrusions, extending into spines.

 Pinus pinaster Aiton Ecological environment: Maritime pine is native to the western and southwestern Mediterranean regions, and grows in coastal areas of France, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. The plant also grows in Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Algeria, north africa and the Atlas mountains of northwest africa, and has been introduced to those areas of South Africa with a Mediterranean climate. It has rapidly naturalized in other countries, including USA (the United States of America), England, China, South Africa, and Australia. The largest man-made forest in the world, the 900,000 hectares Les Landes on the Atlantic coast of southwestern France, is populated almost entirely by Maritime pine.

 Growth characteristics: Maritime pine is a light-loving tree species, suitable for the seaside sandy land and dunes with a warm climate, humid atmosphere, and obvious soil or physiological drought.

 generation of free radicals Introduction of Proanthocyanins: Anthocyanins and their precursors Proanthocyanins (also called condensed tannins) are chemically related to quercetin, and they are another class of flavonoids that are excellent antioxidants with similar benefits to other bioflavonoids. Pycnogenol, which comes from the bark of the French Maritime Pine (Pinus maritima), is a particularly promoted and well-known source of proanthocyanidins. While their cost is several times that of citrus bioflavonoids, tablet sizes are only a fraction of those containing other types of flavonoids, so they are easier to take for individuals with swallowing difficulties, or children.

 Anthocyanidins are found in tea, beets, cherries, plums, red grapes, hawthorn, and some berries, (cyanidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin, malvidin). Proanthocyanidins are found in tea, bilberry, apple, pear, grape seed, pine bark, beer, red wine, cranberry, and red beans, (procyanidin, prodelphinidin, propelargonidin).

 Proanthocyanidin is a name for a class of bioflavonoids. In 1936, this bioflavinoid was classified and referred to as vitamin P, although it didn't gain official vitamin category status. The common link between the bioflavonoids, of which there are about 20,000 different ones, is that they contain a benzene-pyran-phenolic acid molecular nucleus (referred to as flavin) as part of their much larger molecular structure. Proanthocyanidins have been sold as nutritional therapeutic supplements in Europe for almost a quarter of a century. Their introduction to USA (the United States of America) has been relatively recent.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.antioxidant; ②.relieve hypoxia disorders; ③.block atherosclerosis; ④.cancer prevention; ⑤.aid beauty; ⑥.relieve chronic venous insufficiency; ⑦.strengthens blood vessels to protect eyes; ⑧.relieve erectile dysfunction; ⑨.improve brain health, ⑩.relieve hair loss.

 Antioxidant actions: Pycnogenol function as an antioxidant, antioxidant control the formation of dangerous substances in the body called free radicals, potentially harmful chemicals that are produced during the breakdown of foods in the body, exercise can also produce free radicals, and free radicals damage cells through oxidation, some may contribute to cancer cell formation.

 Relieve hypoxia disorders: Pycnogenol relieves disorders involving hypoxia or lack of oxygen, such as inflammatory collagen disease, peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Taking oral doses of pycnogenol for thirty days could relieve symptoms of peripheral circulation disorders, such as limb heaviness, pain, and swelling.

 Block atherosclerosis: Proanthocyanidins prevent atherosclerosis and modulated the release of nitric oxide, which affected the dilation diameter of blood vessels.

 Cancer prevention: Proanthocyanidins block tumor growth by preventing protein synthesis in tumor cells, which prevents them from multiplying, it showed cancer prevention actions.

 Aid beauty: Proanthocyanidins protect the body from toxins, past studies found that 100 mg/kg of a patented grape seed extract prevented liver damage from acetaminophen, acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol, a potent liver toxin, annually causing 75,000 cases of poisoning requiring hospitalization in USA.

 Oxidation damage causes the most visible signs of aging in our skin. By preventing this damage, the skin will stay younger looking. Proanthocyanidins exerted a solo antioxidant effect at a level of potency on par with vitamin E--protecting different polyunsaturated fatty acids from UV light-induced lipid peroxidation.

 Relieve chronic venous insufficiency: Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged, and blood collects in the veins of the legs. This collection of blood may cause painful, tired, itchy, or heavy feelings in the legs. More serious results can include varicose veins, swelling, leg sores, or blood clots in the legs. Proanthocyanidins in pine bark help keep veins and other blood vessels from leaking. In addition, pine bark extract has anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation, which can occur within body tissues as well as on the surface of the skin, contributes to chronic venous insufficiency.

 Strengthens blood vessels to protect eyes: Pine bark extract strengthens the walls of all blood vessels, it is effective for slowing retinopathy, which is the gradual breakdown of the retina in the eyes.

 Relieve erectile dysfunction: Pine bark extract may increase the body's production of nitric oxide, a chemical involved in the male sexual response, it may also be useful in treating erectile dysfunction.

 Improve brain health: Proanthocyanidins have a special value for brain health for at least two reasons - their free radical-quenching antioxidant effects and their collagen-protecting effects. Proanthocyanidins are 50 times more potent antioxidants than the two most famous antioxidants, vitamin C and E. Proanthocyanidins have also been shown to markedly delay the onset of lipid peroxidation and to effectively chelate iron ions. Free iron ions are some of the most powerful promoters of lipid peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical production. This is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease, one of the most common neurological diseases of the aged.

 Relieve hair loss: proanthocyanidins promote hair follicle cell proliferation and the anagen phase of hair growth.

 Relieve skin disorder: Oral pine bark extract may help to even out the tone of skin that has been darkened by various pigmentation disorders such as melasma.

 Medicinal efficacy: Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant, as it contains procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs), pycnogenol can be used interchangeably with Grape Seed Extract. Pycnogenol is used to protect against tumor formation, fight aging, improve circulation to relieve peripheral vascular diseases, reduce inflammation, control diabetes, aid wound healing, treat retinopathy, fight the breakdown of collagen, which can occur with aging and many inflammatory collagen diseases. It can help rectify the impact of oxygen deprivation associated with strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, inflammation, and certain connective tissue disease. Externally, pycnogenol is used ion anti-aging creams and wrinkle therapies, manufactures declared it can nourish the collagen fibers and endow skin with firmness and elasticity.

 Administration of Pycnogenol (Maritime pine extract): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Pycnogenol (Maritime pine extract)
Herbal classic books: Dosage: Pycnogenol supplements, tablets, or capsules are initially taken in daily doses of 75 to 300 mg for up to three weeks, then the daily dosage is lowered to 40 to 80 mg.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: No reports of serious adverse reactions to pycnogenol have been reported in human trials.

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