Hoboken, NJ—A recent study published in Panminerva Medica suggests that a pine bark extract supplement may be able to reduce the symptoms, severity, and duration of the common cold. The branded supplement, Pycnogenol (distributed by Horphag Research) has been the subject of previous studies showing it to be effective in providing natural symptom relief, according to nutritional medicine expert Steven Lamm, Ph.D. The study, conducted at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, included 146 participants between ages 25 – 65, all in generally good health and having received a flu vaccination within three months prior to study inclusion. 70 of the participants took 50 mg of Pycnogenol twice daily along with their preferred best management, while the remaining 76 used best management only. There is no current specific best management for the common cold, so what exactly was done was at the participants’ discretion.

At the conclusion of the study, self-reported results were collected from the participants and compared. The results used a visual analogue scale, with symptoms defined by the Merck Manual, including scratchy or sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and malaise. The majority of information was focused on the four-day period after the first symptom, which is generally when colds are most severe. The Pycnogenol group overall experienced a reduction in affected days, a significant reduction in the amount of lost work days, as well as shortened duration for all pillar symptoms and less demand for additional treatments.  A significant decrease in complications and extensions following the initial four-day period was also reported. Gianni Belcaro, Ph.D. and lead researcher on the study remarked that these results showed that Pycnogenol could serve as a safe and natural remedy for the common cold. He also had an understanding of the mechanisms behind these results, stating, “The significant effect of Pycnogenol to treat nasal congestion and runny nose can be attributed to the extract’s natural anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and antioxidant qualities and for its ability to improve blood circulation.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2015(online 1/2/2015)