Possible Relief for Hay Fever Sufferers
An extract called Pycnogenol that is made from the bark of the French Maritime Pine may reduce the symptoms of hay fever.
This is the finding of a study conducted by researchers affiliated with KGK Synergize in Canada. The results of the study were published in the June 2010 issue of the journal Phytotherapy Research.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen (often grass pollen) or fungal spores, usually occurring in the nose or eyes.
The researchers recruited 60 participants with birch-related hay fever between 18 and 65 years of age in Ontario, Canada.
The participants began taking the Pycnogenol extract (100 mg daily) or a placebo 3-8 weeks before the beginning of the birch allergy season. They continued to take the extract or the placebo for the extent of the season.
The researchers found that Pycnogenol significantly reduced hay fever symptoms. However, at least 5 weeks of supplementation prior to the allergy season was necessary for optimal results.
Just 12.5% of the participants that received the supplement for at least 7 weeks needed antihistamines (allergy medicine) compared to 50% of the participants in the placebo group.
The researchers are confident that larger studies will build on their findings, adding to the quickly growing list of potential health benefits of Pycnogenol. Pycnogenol has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown in previous studies to potentially reduce the risk of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.