The Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

The pine tree is celebrated during the darkness of winter for its seemingly death-defying ability to remain green year-round.

Its bark and needles have been used by indigenous people for centuries for nutrition and general wellness.

As a matter of fact, an extract from the bark of the French maritime pine has been found to contain compounds that have year-round life-enhancing benefits. Let's explore them.

Pine Bark Extract Contains Disease-Fighting Proanthocyanidins

Proanthocyanidins derived from pine bark have been associated with a variety of benefits, including DNA protection, reduction of inflammation, decreased oxidative stress and reduced glycation. 1-5 

Aside from these broad benefits, pine bark extract has been found to help a number of conditions.

Pine Bark Extract Supports Skin Health

Recent research has revealed an ability for pine bark extract to reduce the length and severity of the common cold.6 The extract has also been shown to decrease symptoms associated with psoriasis.7

In addition to helping with psoriasis, pine bark extract benefits the skin of healthy people, too. Not only does it protect collagen from degrading, it reduces the damage caused by ultraviolet light8—the primary cause of skin aging.

Pine bark extract's skin benefits don't end there. It has also shown to improve skin elasticity,9,10 roughness, hydration,10 and hyperpigmentation.11

Pine Bark Extract Improves Circulation and Menopause

In studies involving people with chronic venous insufficiency, pine bark extract reduced leg and ankle swelling and improved symptoms.12,13

Its ability to maintain capillary health is behind its use by many women to combat "spider veins": small dilated red or violet capillaries. Women have also benefited from the use of pine bark extract during menopause14 

The administration of 100 milligrams over an eight-week period reduced fatigue, sleep issues, memory impairment, dizziness, irritability, and depression, as well as such symptoms as headache, breast tenderness, and itching.

Pine Bark Extract Benefits Diabetes and Arthritis

Pine bark extract shows promise for other chronic diseases as well.

A trial of diabetics who received a daily dose of 125 milligrams experienced an average reduction of almost 24 mg/dL in fasting blood sugar levels. Hemoglobin A1c, which assesses long-term glucose control, and LDL cholesterol were also significantly reduced.5

And in participants with arthritis, 100 milligrams of pine bark extract daily resulted in a 56% reduction in symptoms, and an increase in walking distance compared to the placebo group.15

The Bottom Line

The benefits for pine bark extract extend well beyond those discussed in this brief summary.

And while you may not relish the thought of consuming pine bark (unless you're a die-hard survivalist), anyone can take pine bark extract as a supplement to help prevent a number of conditions and promote better health.


  1. Fitoterapia. 2010 Oct;81(7):724-36.
  2. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 1998 Feb;24(2):139-44.
  3. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Feb 15;52(4):765-74.
  4. Redox Rep. 2008;13(6):271-6.
  5. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):315-20.
  6. Panminerva Med. 2014 Dec;56(4):301-8.
  7. Panminerva Med. 2014 Mar;56(1):41-8.
  8. Photochem Photobiol2004 Feb;79(2):193-8.
  9. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004 Jan;3(1):26-34.
  10. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2012;25(2):86-92.
  11. Phytother Res.2002 Sep;16(6):567-71.
  12. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost.2006 Apr;12(2):205-12.
  13. Angiology.2006 Oct-Nov;57(5):569-76.
  14. Panminerva Med. 2011 Sep;53(3 Suppl 1):65-70.
  15. Phytother Res.2008 Apr;22(4):518-23


ALP said...

Are all pine bark extracts created equal? Or is French pine the only one that's really beneficial .

Michael said...

Just to add to this - it is also considered a powerful anti-oxidant and good for the eliminations of free radicals in the body.

Life Extension said...

Michael - Yes! Excellent point.

Louise said...

Is the French pine the only really beneficial one?

Life Extension said...

Louise- So far there are numerous research studies demonstrating health benefits from the bark of the French maritime pine.

Lisa Griffith said...

You talk about circulation... how about for Reynaud's ?

Life Extension said...

Lisa Griffith - Unfortunately, we haven't seen significant research studies on this topic. Here's some info on Raynaud's:

Unknown said...

Sounds like we're locked into expensive pycnogenol? Is there another source of French maritime pine?

AL P said...

So it's only the French Maritime pine bark that's beneficial not regular pine bark extract, so don't bother taking if not "French" Maritime right?

Life Extension said...

AL P - At this time, the studies that demonstrate the health benefits from pine bark are from the bark of the French maritime pine.

Life Extension said...

Unknown - Pycnogenol® is the registered trade name for a patented water extract of French maritime pine bark. Numerous studies have demonstrated beneficial effects from the bark of the French maritime pine.

Unknown said...

I think it aids depression!

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