Pine bark extract, also known as Pycnogenol, is an extract of the red bark Pinus pinaster maritime tree.

Studies show that it contains proanthocyanidins, antioxidants and flavonoids. It is also believed to contain more than 40 other natural therapeutic compounds and typically comes in a brown powder form.

Pine bark extract is typically seen in health products such as diabetic supplements and multi-vitamins.

It has been used to treat circulatory disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), erectile dysfunction, and diabetes.

Pine bark extract and potential health benefits

1. Boosts Antioxidants 

Pycnogenol contains antioxidants that dissolve the chain reaction caused by free radicals.

Increasing antioxidant levels helps counteract the activity of free radicals, helping to repair and maintain the body.

Pine bark extract antioxidants also enhance production of nitric oxide.  Nitric oxide helps to increase the oxygen supply in the blood, helping muscles to operate more efficiently.  As a byproduct, it slows anaerobic metabolism in the muscles during lengthy physical exercises, increasing endurance.

2. Treats Erectile Dysfunction

As we have already seen, the production of nitric oxide enhances the supply of blood in the muscles.  For an erection to occur, cavernous smooth muscles relaxation is critical. The nitric oxide helps faciliate this relaxation.


Inflammation can cause erectile dysfunction. Studies show that stacking Pycnogenol and L-arginine resolves the oxidant and inflammation problems. Pycnogenol can lead to stronger erections.

3. Balances Blood Sugar

Pycnogenol has become the one of the best natural remedies for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

It helps influence levels of blood sugar in the body by reducing the rate of carbohydrate absorption into the digestive system.  This results in the bloodstream having a moderated glucose load.

Pycnogenol contains alpha-glucosidase, a digestive enzyme found in the duodenum that breaks down carbohydrates.

4. Fights Off Common Colds

Pine bark extract is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory by nature.  These properties help to boost the immune system. Pycnogenol lessens the effects of sore throat, congestion, and headaches.


When administered with zinc and vitamin C, Pine bark extract facilitates fast healing of a cold.

5. Boosts Brain Function

Free radicals, inflammation and poor blood flow have harmful effects on the brain’s health.

These disorders manifest through various neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pycnogenol penetrates the brain blood barrier to dissolve oxidants. It also increases the cerebral flow of blood rich in oxygen and nutrients enhancing mood, focus, decision-making, and excellent memory.

6. Reduces Inflammation

Pycnogenol, acting as an antioxidant, helps treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.  Pycnogenol does this by inhibiting production of enzymes such as osteoarthritis (OA), a kind of arthritis brought about by the disintegration of cartilages.

With reduced inflammation, the burden of cardiovascular disorders stops.

Other health benefits include

  • Protects skin and Improves epidermal smoothness
  • Easing edema
  • Eases pain during pregnancy, menstrual disorders, and endometriosis
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Treatment of allergy and asthma