Win the hay fever war this spring with Pycnogenol! >>>

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Win the hay fever war this spring with Pycnogenol!


If you’re a hay fever sufferer, then no doubt you know what’s just around the corner. Hay fever season is coming and for many of us, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and even bronchial swelling all come with it. Many products and treatments exist to address these symptoms with varied success. One such product however, is standing out for many positive reasons. With evidence supported benefits, more than 200 published trials and with contented users around the world, many hay fever sufferers are turning to Pycnogenol® for reliable relief.

What is Pycnogenol®?

Pycnogenol is a unique plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine trees (grown in sustainable French forests). Key to many of its benefits, Pycnogenol is a source of antioxidant plant compounds known as proanthrocyanadins which have been shown to help protect cells from free radical damage.
Free radicals are created by our own bodies metabolism as well as from environmental factors such as smoking, air pollution and UV light exposure. Needed only in small amounts, free radical molecules can begin to cause cell and tissue damage if they are allowed to build up. Free radicals can also play a role in hay fever symptoms, which is detailed later.

What happens during hay fever?

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system has an exaggerated response to foreign particles which it (in most cases, mistakenly) perceives as harmful. In the case of hay fever, this foreign body is pollen (but animal hair, dust and detergents are other common allergies). Once in contact with the pollen, our mast cells (a type of white blood cell) release the hormone histamine throughout the body (particularly to the skin, nose, mouth, blood and lungs). Free radicals in the body can further increase the amount of histamine produced by the mast cells

Histamines trigger inflammation which in moderate levels, is actually a positive thing (as it encourages blood flow and transport of other compounds to help repair tissue). In the case of allergic response however, this inflammation is too great and can make it harder to breathe through constricted airways. Histamines encourage the membranes of the nose to produce mucus, leading to the iconic runny nose and irritated throat.

Through two main actions, Pycnogenol has been shown to assist with hay fever in research:
• Anti-histamine reduction of free radical triggered histamine release.
• Anti-inflammatory, reducing the inflammation caused by histamines that are released.

Pycnogenol the anti-histamine

Various trials have shown Pycnogenol to have an anti-histamine effect, combating this allergic response. The antioxidant compounds are able to neutralize free radicals, reducing the amount of histamine that’s initially released from the mast cells. Pycnogenol also increases the uptake of histamine into the storage component of the mast cells, rather than releasing them throughout the body where they would trigger inflammation. (1).

In a particular lab study, this antihistamine effect was demonstrated be more favourable than sodium cromoglycate, an antihistamine normally found in drop form. (2)

Pycnogenol the anti-inflammatory

Anyone who has ever experienced blocked sinuses, red irritated nostrils and constricted breathing will be well familiar with inflammation associated with hay fever. Pycnogenol has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects that may counter this. In one study, a significant reduction in inflammation was found in subjects consuming Pycnogenol. The proposed mechanism is that Pycnogenol controls NF-Kappa B, which is a protein complex found in our cells which sends out compounds (such as cytokines) into the body that trigger inflammation (3). The benefits of anti-inflammatory effects can be wide reaching, and Pycnogenol has been indicated in benefiting rheumatoid symptoms and circulatory conditions.

Asthma, hay fever and Pycnogenol

Many asthma sufferers fear hay fever, as the combination of the two can cause a lot of symptomatic misery. Asthma is thought to be caused by inflammation of the bronchi, causing narrowing of the breathing passages, increasing the difficulty of breathing. Hay fever can make asthma symptoms worse, as they both share similar mechanisms, including inflammation (leading to episodes of wheezy breathlessness). It’s the anti-inflammatory action of Pycnogenol that may reduce the severity of asthma attacks, according to some research.

In a double blind randomized placebo trial, asthma sufferers were randomly designated Pycnogenol or a placebo for 4 weeks, and then crossed over to the alternate regime for the next 4 weeks. Pycnogenol treatment significantly reduced blood leukotriene levels (which are the main inflammatory molecules associated with asthma). Those taking Pycnogenol responded favourably, and no adverse effects were reported. (4)

Trying it out

Pycnogenol is a well researched and unique plant extract that is proving to be a successful solution for hay fever sufferers all over the world. Not only have studies shown its anti-histamine actions, but other mechanisms such as anti-inflammation associate Pycnogenol with many other health benefits. As always, if you decide to take supplements, you should ensure they’re sourced from a reputable manufacturer with with an emphasis on safety, bioavailability and certified quality.

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1. Sharma S, Sharma S, Gulati O. Pycnogenol inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2003 Jan 31 [cited 2017 Feb 8];17(1):66–9. Available from:

2. Choi Y, Yan G. Pycnogenol inhibits immunoglobulin e-mediated allergic response in mast cells. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2009 May 15 [cited 2017 Feb 8];23(12):1691–5. Available from:

3. Grimm T, Chovanová Z, Muchová J, Sumegová K, Liptáková A, Duracková Z, Högger P. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activation and MMP-9 secretion by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). Journal of inflammation (London, England). 2006 Jan 31 [cited 2017 Feb 8];3. Available from:

4. Hosseini S, Pishnamazi S, Sadrzadeh S, Farid F, Watson R. Pycnogenol((R)) in the management of asthma. Journal of medicinal food. 2003 Mar 18 [cited 2017 Feb 8];4(4):201–9. Available from:

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