Pycnogenol from pine bark treats hemorrhoids

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A new study shows that pine bark extract, sold under the name Pycnogenol®, is an effective treatment for treating hemorrhoids. , Pycnogenol®, derived from the bark of the French maritime pine tree has both anti inflammatory and anti clotting properties that control hemorrhoid bleeding and pain, and can be used for preventing attacks of hemorrhoid pain.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that occur internally or externally around the anal area and occur from too much pressure. Women who are pregnant often develop hemorrhoids. Constipation and straining contribute to their development. Straining for a bowel movement can cause hemorrhoid to bleed and result in throbbing pain. Normal treatment for hemorrhoids without complication includes eating a fiber rich diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and applying ointments that can be purchased over the counter. When conservative treatments fail, surgery might be necessary. Pine bark extract was found in a study of 84 patients to relieve pain and bleeding associated with hemorrhoids.

"Topical medications, lifestyle changes and careful hygiene are all that is needed for most patients to control symptoms of hemorrhoids," said Professor Peter Rohdewald, one of the co-authors of the study. "In this study, both topical and oral Pycnogenol® treatment reduced the intensity and duration of hemorrhoidal pain and bleeding. Pycnogenol® even reduced the number of procedures and hospital admissions caused by severe cases."

Three groups of patients were studied to find the benefits of Pycnogenol® for hemorrhoid relief. One group received Pycnogenol® tablets, 300 mg daily for four days, followed by 150 mg daily for three days; and another was given tablets in addition to 0.5% Pycnogenol® topical cream for hemorrhoid treatment. A third group was given placebo. Pine bark was found to relieve bleeding hemorrhoids, and severe pain associated with difficulty walking, sitting, socializing and going to work.


The groups given Pycnogenol® were free of hemorrhoids symptoms after seven days. The group given placebo continued to have symptoms.

"Individuals never affected by hemorrhoids cannot imagine what people go through. Hemorrhoids can affect every aspect of your daily routine; it represents a tragedy most people don't realize. Our study suggests that Pycnogenol® may help with all major symptoms. Further studies with Pycnogenol® are in progress investigating preventative effects for new attacks and in the general management of hemorrhoids."

Pycnogenol®, made from pine bark extract, contains naturally occurring chemicals called proanthocyanidins that are also present in grape seeds and other plants. Pine bark is believed to have powerful antioxidant properties and has been investigated by researchers for diabetes prevention. It may treat other diseases including arthritis, but clinical studies have been scant that could uncover the range of diseases that might be treated with pine bark extract given its healing potential.

According to a history of pine bark extract, from the American Cancer Society, "In the winter of 1535, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier found his ship ice-bound in the St. Lawrence River, in what is now Quebec. Having no fruits or vegetables, the crew became ill with scurvy, a disease resulting from vitamin C deficiency. Several had already died when a Native American told them how to prepare a tea made from tree bark. Many crew members recovered and attributed miraculous qualities to the tea. It is thought now that the tea was prepared from the bark of the Eastern White Cedar tree and that it contained large amounts of vitamin C.

In 1951, French researcher Dr. Jacques Masquelier reportedly read this account in Cartier’s writings and began a search for the active ingredients in the tea. He was able to extract proanthocyanidins from the bark of the European coastal pine tree. He patented the process and named the compound Pycnogenol.”

The new study, though small, shows that pine bark extract, sold as Pycnogenol®, helped patients recover from hemorrhoid pain and bleeding, prevented hospitalization, and resulted in fewer days lost from work. The findings are published in Phytotherapy Research. Pine bark extract is now shown to be a natural treatment that can reduce pain and suffering form hemorrhoids.