Pycnogenol Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Leg swelling (chronic venous insufficiency)
+3 (Strong Evidence)


  • Pycnogenol improves swelling in the lower legs, whether due to simple inactivity, incompetent blood vessels, or prolonged sitting during car or airline travel.
  • Improvements are seen as soon as 2 weeks after starting treatment. Maximal benefit is seen by the 8th week of use.
  • In a trial comparing pycnogenol with compression stockings, the supplement worked better. The best results were obtained by using both methods together.


  • The studies of this product were quite small. Larger, better designed trials need to be performed to see if the results hold up.
  • All the studies reviewed were performed by the same research group, and the maker of pycnogenol provided free supplies of the product. At least the study itself was not funded by the manufacturer.
  • Pycnogenol is expensive, and it will not likely be covered by insurance.


DOSAGE:Take 150 mg once or twice a day.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that pycnogenol is a safe and effective product for the treatment of leg swelling caused by chronic venous insufficiency. This product is expensive, but you’ll know if it’s worth it within a few weeks because the swelling should be noticeably better. If you elect to try it, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

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Schäfer, A. et al. Inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 activity by plasma of human volunteers after ingention of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy (2005) 60, 5-9
Belcaro, G. et al. Diabetic Ulcers: Microcirculatory Improvement and Faster Healing With Pycnogenol. Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis (2006) 12(3):318-323
Stanislavov, R., Nikolova, V. et al. Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction with Pycnogenol and L-arginine. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy (2003) 29(3):207-213
Liu, X. et al. Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, improves endothelial function of hypertensive patients. Life Sciences (2004) 74, 855-862
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Trebaticka, J. et al. Treatment of ADHD with French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2006) 15:329-335
Dvorˇa´kova, M. et al. Urinary catecholamines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Modulation by a polyphenolic estract from pine bark (Pycnogenol). Nutritional Neuroscience (2007) 10(3/4):151-157
Lau, B. et al. Pycnogenol as an Adjunct in the Management of Childhood Asthma. Journal of Asthma (2004) 41(8):825-832
Ni, Z. et al. Treatment of Melasma with Pycnogenol. Phytotherapy Research (2002) 16, 567-571
Belcaro, G. et al. Prevention of Venous Thrombosis and Thrombophlebitis in Long-Haul Flights with Pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thrombosis/Hemostasis (2004) 10(4):373-377

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