Potential Role for Pycnogenol in Colds

French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-edema natural compound that is available in many stores as an OTC product.

French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-edema natural compound that is available in many stores as an OTC product.

In clinical studies, Pycnogenol has demonstrated positive results in a number of conditions, including neuroinflammation and skin disorders. Now, a research team in Italy has completed a trial on the effectiveness of the pine bark derivative in the common cold.

The researchers enrolled 146 subjects who had colds but were otherwise healthy. All participants used what the authors called the “best management” for colds, and 1 group of 70 patients also took twice-daily 50 mg Pycnogenol from symptom onset. The researchers then compared those treated patients to 76 control subjects.

Patients in the treatment arm reported significantly fewer days of severe cold symptoms and lost work compared with their matched controls. The French maritime pine bark extract was also associated with a diminished need to use any other OTC products to manage cold symptoms on an as-needed basis.

Related symptoms sustained for >4 days, tracheal symptoms, and bronchial involvement were the most frequent cold complications in the study, but those who received Pycnogenol were significantly less likely to develop clinically significant complications than control subjects.

Patients in the supplement arm appeared to have a quicker evolution of "pillar cold signs,” and their colds subsequently resolved faster. With Pycnogenol supplementation, the decrease in cold symptom scores appeared to be significant.