Effect of low-dose French maritime pine bark extract on climacteric syndrome in 170 perimenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

J Reprod Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;58(1-2):39-46.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a relatively low daily dosage of Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract for improvement of climacteric symptoms.

Study design: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study 170 perimenopausal women were enrolled and treated with 30 mg Pycnogenol or placebo twice daily over a period of 3 months. Climacteric symptoms were evaluated by the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ) and by the Kupperman index, accompanied by an investigation of sex hormones and routine blood chemistry.

Results: Seven women dropped out of each group due to noncompliance or personal reasons, but not as a result of treatment. A significant placebo effect was apparent in this study, suggesting an improvement of a majority of the WHQ categories. Compared to baseline, Pycnogenol significantly (p < 0.05) improved all symptoms with the exception of formication sensation and abnormal perceptions. Pycnogenol was found to be especially effective for improving vasomotor and insomnia/sleep problem symptoms, which were significantly better after 4 and 12 weeks than with placebo (p < 0.05). Total Kupperman's index for perimenopausal symptom severity score decreased significantly by 56% as compared to placebo (-39%) after 12 weeks of treatment (p < 0.05). Symptom score was also significantly better already after 4 weeks of treatment with Pycnogenol as compared to placebo.

Conclusion: This study, applying a relatively low daily dose, allows identification of those climacteric symptoms which respond particularly well to supplementation with Pycnogenol.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Perimenopause / drug effects*
  • Perimenopause / physiology
  • Perimenopause / psychology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Bark
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • pycnogenols
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I