Pycnogenol, a branded form of pine bark extract, is promoted for a number of uses -- including improving circulation, cognition, joint pain, muscle pain and fibromyalgia, vision, and symptoms of prostate enlargement -- due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pine bark extract contains flavonoid compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which are thought to be responsible for some of its effects. Clinical evidence shows Pycnogenol may be beneficial in a number of different conditions, and appears to be quite safe, although certain people and those taking particular medications should use it with caution.
Be aware that some supplements contain pine bark extracts that are different than Pycnogenol and may not have been clinically studied. For more details, including what to look for on labels, sign in and read the full answer.
Note: Unfortunately, the current method of testing for these compounds can be easily fooled by the addition of tea catechins. Until a more reliable, validated method is developed, ConsumerLab.com is unable to test and review these products.