Pycnogenol: Main Image
Pycnogenol is an extract of the bark of the French maritime pine, which grows along the Atlantic coast of southwestern France.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
150 to 300 mg per day 3 stars[3 stars]
A controlled study reported that supplementing daily with Pycnogenol improved symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency and reduced associated leg swelling.
100 to 200 mg per day 3 stars[3 stars]
Pycnogenol has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.
120 to 150 mg per day 3 stars[3 stars]
Preliminary and double blind studies have shown that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol may slow the progression of retinopathy and improve vision.  
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
150 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
A study of healthy senior people reported that supplementing daily with Pycnogenol improved some measures of memory after three months, compared with a group taking a placebo.
1 mg per pound of body weight per day, in two divided doses2 stars[2 stars]
In one trial, supplementing with Pycnogenol improved lung function and asthma symptoms and reduced the need for rescue medication in children with asthma.
Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder
1 mg daily per 2.2 pounds body weight daily 2 stars[2 stars]
Though another story did not find effect, one study reported that Pycnogenol reduced symptoms of hyperactivity and improved attention, coordination, and concentration after one month in a group of children with ADHD.
60 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Preliminary research and double-blind research has reported that pycnogenol may reduce severe abdominal and back pain during menses.
Erectile Dysfunction
120 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
In one study of men with erectile dysfunction, supplementing with Pycnogenol improved erectile function.
6 pieces chewing gum per day containing 5 mg each 2 stars[2 stars]
In a double blind trial, people with gingivitis who chewed six pieces daily of a gum had less gum bleeding and no additional plaque formation, compared with a placebo group.  
Jet Lag
150 mg per day for seven days, beginning two days before travel 2 stars[2 stars]
In controlled studies, Pycnogenol taken for two days before and five days after air travel led to milder symptoms that lasted for a shorter period of time, compared with untreated control groups.  
60 to 120 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
In a small, controlled study, Pycnogenol seemed to help decrease systemic lupus erythematosus activity, measured with a combination of signs, symptoms, and blood measurements.
60 to 200 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
In a double-blind trial, perimenopausal women who took Pycnogenol experienced reduced menopause symptoms.
100 to 150 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Double-blind research has shown that Pycnogenol may improve symptoms of osteoarthritis, including reducing pain and the use of pain-relieving medication and improving walking performance.
Skin Ulcers
150 mg per day orally, along with topical application of 100 mg daily 2 stars[2 stars]
In a controlled study, symptoms of diabetic skin ulcers improved in those treated with standard medications plus oral and topical Pycnogenol.
1.1 to 1.66 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight per day during periods of high sun exposure 2 stars[2 stars]
Proanthocyanidins (flavonoids found in pine bark, grape seed, and other plant sources) may increase the amount of ultraviolet rays necessary to cause sunburn.
Type 2 Diabetes
100 to 150 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Preliminary research has suggested that Pycnogenol might help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and slow progression of complications such as retinopathy.
Venous Thrombosis
For plane travel: 200 mg two to three hours before a flight, 200 mg six hours later, and 100 mg on the following day 2 stars[2 stars]
People at risk for venous thrombosis during plane travel were shown a video explaining in-flight exercises to prevent venous thrombosis and also followed a regimen of Pycnogenol, which appears to reduce frequency of episodes of venous thrombosis.
60 mg per day 1 star[1 star]
In a preliminary study, symptoms of endometriosis gradually declined when women took Pycnogenol.
High Cholesterol
150 mg per day 1 star[1 star]
Preliminary research suggests that Pycnogenol may lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol in people with normal cholesterol levels.
Leg Cramps
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
A preliminary study of people experiencing at least four episodes per week of leg cramps due to either athletic activity, circulatory disorders, or unknown causes reported that Pycnogenol significantly reduced cramping.  
75 mg per day 1 star[1 star]
Preliminary research shows that melasma, a disorder of increased skin pigmentation, may be improved by Pycnogenol supplementation.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
30 mg per day 1 star[1 star]
In a controlled study, pregnant women who took Pycnogenol reported some relief of pain in the legs, pelvis, hip, and low back.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

While the French maritime pine has been used as an ornamental tree and for wood products, it has not been used in traditional herbal medicine. Pycnogenol was developed and patented in the 1980s as a rich source of proanthocyanidins.

Copyright © 2018 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.