• Clinical data 95%
  • Efficacy 90%
  • Security 70%
  • Toxicity 30%


Pinus elliottii, Pinus halepensis, Pinus maritima, Pinus nigra, Pinus palustris, Pinus pinaster, Pinus sp

Major chemical constituents

  1. a) Leaves, buds:

– Turpentine, basically composed of monoterpene hydrocarbons (α-pinene, β-pinene, camphene, β-phellandrene, δ-3-carene). The composition in Pinenos is very variable depending on the species and time of collection. Colophony, composed mainly of diterpenic acids (pimaric and abietic).

– Essential oil of pine: contains 1.5-5% of bornil acetate.

  1. b) Bark: proanthocyanidinic oligomers (5%), turpentine (essential oil, 15-30%, resin, 70-85%), tannins.

– Picnogenol: maritime pine bark extract (Pinus maritima Mill.), In which monomers (catechin, epicatechin, and taxifolin) and oligomers (proanthocyanidins) predominate, resulting from the union of a variable number of flavan-3 molecules -ols catechin and epicatechin. The maritime pine bark extracts also contain, in minor amounts, phenolic acids (ferulic, caffeic and p-hydroxobenzoic), as well as glycosylated derivatives of both flavanols and phenolic acids.

Medicinal uses of Pinus sylvestris

Indications approved by the Commission E:

– Pine buds: catarrhal diseases of the upper respiratory tract; in topical use muscular pains, neuralgia.

– Essential oil of Pinus sylvestris leaves: affections of the respiratory tree; topically: rheumatic conditions, neuralgia.

– Purified turpentine oil: chronic bronchial affections with abundant mucus (internal and external use); rheumatic complaints and neuralgia (topical use).

Picnogenol: According to clinical trials, pycnogenol may be recommended in multiple pathological situations, such as chronic venous insufficiency, muscle cramps, venous ulcers, prevention of thrombus formation in long flights, diabetic microangiopathies, retinopathies, as an antioxidant, in the improvement of cognitive function, in cases of systemic lupus erythematosus, in asthmatic processes, in erectile dysfunction and male infertility, in hypercholesterolemia, osteoarthritis and in attention deficit / hyperactivity syndrome in children.


– Pinus sylvestris shoots are used internally as expectorants and mucolytics; externally as adjuvants in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

– The essential oil is used as mucolytic and expectorant.

– Turpentine is used as a rubefacient.

– Picnogenol has been the object of numerous pharmacological studies in which multiple pharmacological actions have been revealed, among which its antioxidant activity stands out. In this sense, the available data are demonstrative of its action on different systems involved in the oxidative status as well as the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, while protecting DNA against oxidative damage and reducing, in vitro, the apoptotic process induced by β-amyloid. In addition, the picnogenol induces the intracellular synthesis of antioxidant enzymes and inhibits the activity of prooxidant enzymes in a dose-dependent manner. Its free radical scavenging activity also extends to nitrogen radicals. In humans it has been observed that the administration of picnogenol significantly increases the absorbance capacity of oxygen free radicals (ORAC) of the blood, as well as the antioxidant activity of the plasma.

In a study carried out with HaCat cells, a significant decrease in the expression of the genes encoding calgranulins A and B, proteins involved in the reorganization of the cytoskeleton filaments observed in different inflammatory dermatoses, has been observed. instead they are over-expressed in abnormal keratinocytes such as those seen in psoriasis.

In vitro and in vivo, the catechin and the oligomeric anthocyanidins of the pycnogenol, bind to the insoluble elastin, giving rise to a greater resistance of the elastin to the degradation by the elastases. An in vitro inhibitory effect of platelet aggregation induced by adrenaline has also been described for picnogenol, and a decrease in the values ​​of thromboxane B2, the main metabolite of Tx A2.

These maritime pine bark extracts induce an endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in vitro by mechanisms that imply an increase in NO levels. Also in in vitro tests, pycnogenol resulted in a decrease in the vasoconstrictor effect of catecholamines and in a decrease in induction by TNFα of VCAM and ICAM adhesion molecules.

The action on the immune function could be verified in in vivo experiences, in which it was observed that the administration of picnogenol to mice infected with retroviruses resulted in a decrease in the production of IL-6 together with an increase in the cytotoxicity of Natural Killer cells.

In relation to the action on other pathological processes such as inflammatory, the results obtained in different in vitro and in vivo tests, show that pycnogenol, through different mechanisms, can exert a positive effect in the resolution of inflammatory processes of different nature.

In terms of its enzymatic inhibitory effect, its ability to act on different enzymes involved in oxidative stress and on MMPS (metalloproteinases), binds the inhibition of α-glucosidases, and enzymes COX1 and COX2, as well as ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme).

The ECPM have also been the subject of studies with different cancer cell lines in which it has been possible to confirm their proapoptotic effect.


– Essential oil of pine leaves, purified turpentine oil, orally: hypersensitivity to essential oil, pregnancy, lactation, children under six years, asthma, gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, neurological diseases. In topical use: children under six, known hypersensitivity to these or other essential oils, asthma.

– Pine buds: have not been described.

– Pine bark: have not been described.

Side effects

Essential oils can produce intense local flushing and increase the intensity of bronchospasms.

According to the numerous clinical trials carried out, pycnogenol is well tolerated. On rare occasions it can lead to the onset of nausea, headache and vertigo.


Essential oil of pine needles, purified turpentine oil: use with caution, especially in children, because of the possibility of bronchospasm. Avoid solar radiation after the local application of essential oils of pine and turpentine. Do not apply on large areas of skin.

Due to its abundance in tannins, the infusion of leaves and the decoction of the bark can cause digestive disorders, which is why its administration is recommended along with the main meals.

The absence of data, advises not to use pycnogenol during pregnancy, lactation and early childhood. Due to its astringency, it can occasionally cause gastric discomfort, so it is recommended to administer it together with the main meals. It is recommended to use it with caution in patients with diabetes, as well as in those treated with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs. Its use is advised with caution in patients undergoing antihypertensive medication and in those affected by autoimmune diseases. Do not use together with other inotropic agents.

More information: https://www.fitoterapia.net/vademecum/plantas/index.html?planta=119&tipo_nombre=2

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