Pine bark extract may reduce symptoms & severity of common cold

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Pine bark extract may reduce symptoms & severity of common cold

Related tags: Pine bark extract, Pycnogenol, Common cold

Daily consumption of supplements containing extracts from French maritime pine bark may shorten the duration of the common cold and reduces the severity of sore throat, congestion, headache, coughing and sneezing, says a new study from Italy.

Scientists from Chieti-Pescara University report that supplementation with Pycnogenol within four days of the first symptom was found to significantly reduce the number of affected days, reduce the number of lost work days, and shorten the duration of all pillar symptoms including scratchy or sore throat, sneezing, running nose, cough, temperature and more.

“This new study finds Pycnogenol to be a safe and effective natural remedy to treat symptoms of the common cold, reduce the number of affected days and decrease complications from the cold without side effects,”​ said Dr Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study.

“The significant effect of Pycnogenol to treat nasal congestion and runny nose can be attributed to the extract’s natural anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and antioxidant qualities and for its ability to improve blood circulation.  These findings are supported by decades of research on Pycnogenol’s ability to naturally boost the immune system.”

According to the National Institutes for Health, Americans suffer 1 billion colds annually; this affects daily productivity costing each working adult an average of 8.7 lost work hours with an economic impact of nearly $25 billion.

The ingredient

Pycnogenol_trees_sea
Pycnogenol is extracted from the bark of the French Maritime Pine

Pycnogenol – a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids extracted from the bark of the maritime pine – is included in more than 700 dietary supplements, cosmetic products and functional foods and beverages worldwide.

The ingredient has been the subject of scores of clinical studies suggesting benefits covering everything from cardiovascular, joint, cognitive and eye health to the relief of hay fever, PMS, tinnitus, hemorrhoidal pain and menopause symptoms.

Study details

Dr Belcaro and his co-workers recruited 146 generally healthy people aged between 25 and 65 to participate in their study. None of the participants had received a flu vaccination within three months of the study. At the first symptom of a cold, 70 participants elected to take the pine bark extract (100 mg per day) in addition to their preferred best management, while the other 76 took their preferred best management alone (the control group).

Results showed that, within four days of the first symptom, supplementation with Pycnogenol was associated with an average of 1.1 fewer days affected, and an average reduction in the number of lost work days of 0.12 days.

The pine bark extract was also associated with a reduction in the demand for additional treatments including nasal drops, aspirin + Vitamin C, antihistamines and aerosols, said the researchers.

“Supplementation with Pycnogenol affects symptoms of the common cold, improving clinical conditions and allowing a faster regression of in the worst days of follow up,”​ wrote the researchers. “Even an improvement in symptoms for a day when achieved for millions of people may produce a significant reduction in cost. Pycnogenol, alone or in combination, may be an important option in these patients, considering its safety.”

Source: Panminerva Medica
December 2014, Voolume 56, Number 4, Pages 301-308, doi:
“Improvement of common cold with Pycnogenol: a Winter registry study”
Authors: Belcaro G, Shu H, Luzzi R, Dugall M, Ippolito E, Cesarone MR, Corsi M, Feragalli B.

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