Pycnogenol((R)) in the Management of Asthma

J Med Food. 2001 Winter;4(4):201-209. doi: 10.1089/10966200152744472.


Asthma is characterized as a chronic inflammatory process. Pycnogenol((R)), a bioflavonoid mixture extracted from Pinus maritima, is known to scavenge free radicals while possessing antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of this agent in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study in patients with varying asthma severity. Twenty-six patients who fulfilled the American Thoracic Society criteria for asthma were enrolled in the study. Medical history, physical examination, blood sample analyses, and spirometric values were obtained at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either 1 mg/lb/day (maximum 200 mg/day) Pycnogenol or placebo for the first period of 4 weeks and then crossed over to the alternate regimen for the next 4 weeks. No adverse effects were observed related to the study drug. Within the contingent of 22 patients who completed the study, almost all responded favorably to Pycnogenol in contrast to placebo. Pycnogenol treatment also significantly reduced serum leukotrienes compared with placebo. The results of this pilot study indicate that Pycnogenol may be a valuable nutraceutical in the management of chronic asthma. We recommend that further clinical trials be conducted in larger groups of asthmatics to establish its efficacy.