In everyday life, our body generates free radicals and other reactive oxygen species which are derived either from the endogenous metabolic processes (within the body) or from external sources. Many clinical and pharmacological studies suggest that natural antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage. Among the natural antioxidant products, Pycnogenol(®) (French Pinus pinaster bark extract) has been received considerable attention because of its strong free radical-scavenging activity against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. P. pinaster bark extract (PBE) contains polyphenolic compounds (these compounds consist of catechin, taxifolin, procyanidins of various chain lengths formed by catechin and epicatechin units, and phenolic acids) capable of producing diverse potentially protective effects against chronic and degenerative diseases. This herbal medication has been reported to have cardiovascular benefits, such as vasorelaxant activity, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibiting activity, and the ability to enhance the microcirculation by increasing capillary permeability. Moreover, effects on the immune system and modulation of nitrogen monoxide metabolism have been reported. This article provides a brief overview of clinical studies describing the beneficial and health-promoting effects of PBE.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory effects; Antioxidant activity; Cardiovascular system; P. pinaster; Pine bark extract; Pycnogenol.