Pine Tree Bark Extract Might Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
Switzerland-based Horphag Research's Pycnogenol -- an extract derived from the bark of the pine tree Pinus pinaster -- might ease menopausal symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, vaginal dryness and menstrual problems, according to a study to be published in the upcoming issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters Health reports.
For the study, Han-Ming Yang of Ham-Ming Hospital in Taiwan and colleagues randomly assigned 155 women ages 45 to 55 either 100 milligrams of Pycnogenol or a placebo pill twice daily for six months.
The participants completed questionnaires on their symptoms at the beginning of the study, as well as at three and six months after the outset.
The study found women in the Pycnogenol group overall reported improvements in their menopausal symptoms, compared with women in the placebo group, who generally showed no change or worsening symptoms. Blood tests also found that the women in the Pycnogenol group had higher antioxidant levels and that their cholesterol levels slightly improved, compared with the placebo group. The findings are "encouraging," especially considering many women suffering from menopausal symptoms want alternatives to hormone replacement therapy, researchers said (Reuters Health, 9/12).