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Joint Pain Forum – News you can use!

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The bark that heals



17-Jul-2007

If you look closely at the bark of a pine tree, what's most evident between the concentric circles of bark that have grown over the years is its reddish-brown hue, a colour derived from a natural powder-like substance found in the tree's bark.

Extracted from between each layer, this substance is what makes up Pcynogenol, a pine bark extract. The source of raw bark material that goes into Pcynogenol is grown in Europe's largest pine tree forest in Bordeaux, France, in a monoculture environment that does not use pesticides and fertilisers to prevent cross-contamination.

Pcynogenol is known to be beneficial to health as it contains the antioxidant flavanoids, which is a compound also commonly found in the peel of fruits. This substance acts as a protective barrier against bacteria and makes up the natural immune system of a pine bark tree.

These properties are also what make Pcynogenol a good source of antioxidants that help in combating ailments such as high blood pressure, arthritis and high blood glucose levels.






Nutritionist Louisa Zhang said: "Pcy-nogenol is one of the better-researched substances, with studies on it conducted in universities in countries such as Germany, the United States and Britain."

Studies have shown that the extract inhibits inflammation in the body. When compared against the use of placebo drugs for the management of pain in arthritis sufferers, patients on Pcynogenol reported feeling less pain.

Pcynogenol also contains many phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and organic or fruit acids, according to Ms Zhang. "One of these acids, Ferulic acid, in particular, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory action and improves capillary malleability."

The extract has also shown promise in improving skin quality and elasticity, as it binds to the collagen fibres in the skin, helping the enzymes produce more collagen and protecting cells against free radical damage from the environment.

Studies have also linked Pycnogenol, which is used in finished products like pharmaceuticals, food and drinks, with beneficial properties like its ability to improve blood flow.

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