Pycnogenol, the antioxidant extract of French maritime pine bark, improved blood circulation disorders in three new studies. Doctors assigned 30 diabetic patients with severe blood vessel damage and ulcers on the lower limbs to take an oral 150 mg dose of Pycnogenol, a topical 100 mg dose of Pycnogenol powder (from the capsule) applied directly to the wound, a combination of these two treatments, or a placebo per day for six weeks. All four groups also washed the wound with warm water and disinfected each day.
At the end of the study, the oral-topical combination group had a 74.4% decrease in the size of the ulcer. The oral group had a 41.3% decrease, the topical group had a 33% decrease and the placebo group had a 22% decrease in ulcer size. Those who took oral Pycnogenol also had better blood circulation in the small blood vessels (microcirculation).
In an eight week study, 21 patients aged 42 to 60—11 men and 10 women—with inadequate blood flow in the veins of the limbs and ankle swelling (together, severe venous hypertension), and a history of chronic leg wounds (venous ulcerations) took 150 mg of Pycnogenol per day while doctors observed 18 similar patients who received no treatment (control group). At four weeks, and at the end of the study, doctors found that those who had taken Pycnogenol had fewer symptoms of bleeding in small blood vessels (microangiopathy), less fluid leaking from the smallest blood vessels (capillary filtration), and less fluid accumulating in the space between cells (edema), while there were no changes in the control group.
People who take high blood pressure medication (anti-hypertensive) may suffer from edema. In this eight week study, researchers gave Pycnogenol to hypertensive patients who were taking one of two types of anti-hypertensive drug–nifedipine or an angiotensin–converting enzyme inhibitor; and found that capillary filtration decreased significantly. Doctors concluded that in hypertensive patients, Pycnogenol controls this type of edema, helps prevent damage in the microcirculation and allows doctors to reduce the dose of anti-hypertensive drugs in most patient.