URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1019.html

Maritime Pine

What is it?

Maritime pine trees (Pinus pinaster) grow in countries on the Mediterranean Sea. Its bark may be helpful for asthma and improved leg circulation.

Maritime pine contains chemicals that might improve blood flow, stimulate the immune system, reduce swelling, prevent infections, and have antioxidant effects. Maritime pine trees that grow in southwest France are used to make Pycnogenol, the trademarked name for a specific maritime pine bark extract.

Maritime pine bark extract is used for asthma, high cholesterol, decline in memory, ADHD, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for MARITIME PINE are as follows:

Possibly effective for...

  • Asthma. Taking a specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) by mouth daily, along with asthma medications, seems to decrease asthma symptoms and the need for rescue inhalers in children and adults with asthma. Keep in mind that maritime pine bark extract shouldn't be used in place of asthma medicine.
  • Poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI). Taking a specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) by mouth seems to reduce leg pain and heaviness, as well as swelling, in people with circulation problems.
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking a specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) by mouth might improve some symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. It also might reduce the need for pain medications in some people.

Possibly ineffective for...

  • High cholesterol. Taking a specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) doesn't lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
There is interest in using maritime pine bark for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: A specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is possibly safe when taken in doses of 50-450 mg daily for up to one year. It might cause dizziness and stomach problems in some people.

When applied to the skin: A specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is possibly safe when used as a cream for up to 7 days or as a powder for up to 6 weeks.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy: Taking a specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is possibly safe when used in late pregnancy. But until more is known, it should be used cautiously or avoided during pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if maritime pine is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: A specific maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is possibly safe to take by mouth for up to 3 months in children 6-18 years of age.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Maritime pine might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using maritime pine.

Bleeding conditions: Taking high doses of maritime pine might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding conditions.

Surgery: Maritime pine might slow blood clotting and reduce blood sugar. There is some concern that it might cause blood sugar to go too low and increase the chance of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using maritime pine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Maritime pine might lower blood sugar levels. Taking maritime pine along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Maritime pine can increase the activity of the immune system. Some medications, such as those used after a transplant, decrease the activity of the immune system. Taking maritime pine along with these medications might decrease the effects of these medications.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Maritime pine might slow blood clotting. Taking maritime pine along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
Maritime pine might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Maritime pine might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

How is it typically used?

Maritime pine bark extract has most often been used by adults at a dose of 50 mg, taken 2-3 times daily, for up to one year. It's also used in various products, including creams and topical powders. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Other names

Condensed Tannins, Écorce de Pin, Écorce de Pin Maritime, Extrait d'Écorce de Pin, French Marine Pine Bark Extract, French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Leucoanthocyanidins, Maritime Bark Extract, Oligomères de Procyanidine, Oligomères Procyanidoliques, Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins, OPC, OPCs, PCO, PCOs, Pine Bark, Pine Bark Extract, Pinus pinaster, Pinus maritima, Proanthocyanidines Oligomériques, Procyanidin Oligomers, Procyanodolic Oligomers, Pycnogenol, Pycnogénol, Pygenol, Tannins Condensés.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

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Last reviewed - 09/17/2021