Biologic Rationale And Evidence
Pycnogenol® is a patented extract of bark from the French maritime pine tree, Pinus pinaster, subspecies Atlanticus des Villar. Ingestion and topical application of pine bark and needle preparations for medicinal purposes dates back several centuries, with the first described use by the French explorer Jacques Cartier as a remedy for his scurvy afflicted crew on the St Lawrence River near Quebec in 15351. Nearly four centuries later, the French researcher, Jacques Masquelier isolated an ascorbate-enhancing flavanol (polyphenolic antioxidant containing catechins) he called oligoprocyanidin2 (OPC) from French Maritime Pine and patented the extraction process, later dubbing the end product Pycnogenol®.
Modulating The Morbidity of Inflammation
Inflammation is a necessary and critical component of the healing system and the overall actions of the immune system. The immune system is an integrated network of organs and cells that protect the host from invasion and modulate reaction once invasion has occurred. The immune system depends on self-regulation to dampen the potential for unrelenting self -destruction of autoimmune reactions. The balance in the system (immunomodulation ) is critical to the overall health of the immune system and thus the human system. Acute inflammation is modulated by the immune system to take care of an immediate problem…then it is supposed to shut itself off. Chronic inflammation is an issue that is a representation of the immune system out of control…an immune system that does not shut itself off. The immune (inflammatory) system then becomes a smoldering fire that creates significant issues throughout the bodily systems including the eye. Chronic inflammation is responsible for destabilizing cholesterol deposits (heart attack and stroke), destroying nerve cells (dementias), proliferating abnormal cells and potentially transforming them to cancer, and impacting on devastating disorders of the eye such as macular degeneration, uveitis and glaucoma.