ABC Publishes Updated Monograph on French Maritime Pine Bark Extract Pycnogenol
46-page monograph describes scientific research and human clinical trials that support various medicinal uses
The American Botanical Council (ABC) has published an updated ingredient-specific monograph that summarizes selected scientific and clinical studies of Pycnogenol, a patented dietary ingredient derived from French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster subsp. atlantica, Pinaceae) bark. ABC’s original monograph on Pycnogenol was published in 2010.
The revised monograph summarizes 63 human clinical trials on Pycnogenol — 46 more than the original monograph. The studies evaluated the proprietary extract’s potential benefits for numerous health conditions, including chronic venous insufficiency (improper leg vein function), thrombosis (formation or presence of clots in blood vessels), type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
The evidence from the selected trials suggests that Pycnogenol may have a wide range of potential applications, including the ability to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes and improve endothelial function (e.g., the ability of blood vessels to widen through relaxation of the muscular wall of the vessels). Clinical trial data suggest that Pycnogenol may also help decrease edema formation (swelling) in the lower legs, benefit children with ADHD, be a useful adjunct therapy for patients with asthma, reduce pain associated with menstrual disorders, and improve subjective symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee.
“Few proprietary botanical extracts have been subjected to human clinical trials in such a wide range of human health conditions,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC. “We acknowledge Horphag Research, the producer of Pycnogenol, for its strong commitment to clinical research on its leading ingredient.”
Horphag Research of Geneva, Switzerland, invests about $1.5 million annually in new scientific and clinical research on the extract.
According to Victor Ferrari, CEO of Horphag Research: “The new ABC monograph is the most comprehensive technical document on Pycnogenol to date. It will help tremendously in educating the industry and scientific audience and sets the foundation for all future developments and research to come. Horphag Research is committed to continue the path of evidence-based science and innovation.”
The monograph is published in three parts: a clinical overview (i.e., executive summary) that contains condensed information from the larger monograph, a consumer/patient information sheet with essential information for the responsible use of the product, and the full monograph that describes scientific and clinical research on Pycnogenol. Each of these parts is accessible separately on the ABC website.
The full monograph contains an overview of Pycnogenol’s production and chemistry, uses of the product, dosage information, descriptions of the product’s pharmacology and mechanisms of action, safety data, and summaries of selected clinical trials. A 13-page table includes synopses of the clinical trials profiled within the monograph’s text, plus summaries of several additional studies. The monograph also includes patent information and describes how Pycnogenol is regulated in 10 countries and regions around the world.
Horphag Research has studied the extract extensively over the past 49 years to assure the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol as an ingredient in dietary supplements and conventional foods. According to the company, more than 100 clinical trials and 400 scientific studies and review articles have been published on the extract. Horphag Research earned the Frost & Sullivan North American Health Ingredients Excellence in Research of the Year Award for 2008, and ABC presented the company with the Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award in 2012.
ABC’s ingredient-specific monograph on Pycnogenol was written by toxicologist Heather S. Oliff, PhD, and peer reviewed by scientific and medical experts for its accuracy. “The Pycnogenol monograph is a useful compendium because it is a very thorough and unbiased review of the scientific literature,” Oliff said.
ABC emphasizes that the publication of the Pycnogenol monograph is not an endorsement or recommendation of the ingredient or the manufacturer. “ABC has had a long history of documenting specific herbal products and ingredients that have been clinically tested,” said Blumenthal. “As part of our nonprofit research and educational mission, we believe it is in the public interest to identify human clinical research conducted on natural plant-based products and ingredients that the scientific literature suggests are safe and beneficial.”
ABC’s Pycnogenol monograph is the fifth in a series of product- or ingredient-specific monographs that the organization has published. It was produced under an educational grant from Horphag Research to ABC. The organization has plans to produce additional monographs concerning specific researched commercial products and ingredients.
About Horphag Research
Horphag Research Ltd., founded in 1925 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the exclusive worldwide supplier of Pycnogenol. The company leads the world in Pycnogenol research, and new applications for Pycnogenol are explored every year. Pycnogenol is available in more than 700 dietary supplements, multivitamins, and health products worldwide. Pycnogenol is a registered trademark of Horphag Research, and its applications are protected by US and international patents. Horphag Research USA Inc., based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the exclusive North American raw material supplier of Pycnogenol. More information about Pycnogenol is available at the company’s website: www.pycnogenol.com.