Pine bark helps osteoarthritis8th September 2008
A compound extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree could be of help to patients with knee osteoarthritis.
A new study of 100 patients found that joint pain decreased gradually over the course of three months' treatment with Pycnogenol, and that no relapse was seen two weeks after termination of treatment.
Pycnogenol acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, and may even help the joints to recover.
Study co-author Peter Rohdewald said patients taking the extract required significantly less analgesic medication while supplementing with Pycnogenol, whereas this was not the case with the placebo-treated control group.
Participants were randomly allocated to either a Pycnogenol or placebo group, then supplemented with 150mg Pycnogenol or placebo per day over a three-month period.
They continued to take whatever pain medication they had been using prior to the study, but recorded every pill taken.
They also completed a detailed questionnaire designed to monitor levels of joint function and pain level, as well as to obtain measures of joint stiffness and day-to-day quality of life.
Investigations were carried out at two week intervals during the three months, and a final time two weeks after discontinuation of medication.
The group taking Pycnogenol showed an overall improvement in pain, stiffness and daily activities of 20.9% compared with the placebo group.
The improvements appeared to continue in this group even four weeks after Pycnogenol treatment was stopped.
Joint pain in this group decreased by 40.3% at the end of the three month programme, and it was still at an average of 36.1% lower that during baseline measurements at the beginning of the study.
This group also saw a reduction of the dosage of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, and other analgesics, in 38% of participants.
Rohdewald said Pycnogenol continued to demonstrate its effectiveness for osteoarthritis symptoms making it a viable, natural and safe alternative for individuals.
The study, published in the August journal of Phytotherapy Research, was the first to investigate whether a relapse of symptoms occurred after Pycnogenol was stopped.
The results showed a lasting effect after discontinuation suggesting that the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of Pycnogenol had allowed the joints to recover.
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