Pycnogenol helps hay fever 

Pycnogenal is an extract derived from the bark of French maritime pine trees which has already proved to be helpful in the management of ADHD A new study published in the June 14, 2010 issue of Phytotherapy Research shows that it can substantially improve the symptoms of hay fever.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by KGK Synergize, Inc.,60 subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 began treatment three to eight weeks prior to the onset of birch allergy season in Ontario, Canada. All subjects tested positive for birch pollen allergies as determined by skin prick tests. Patients were assigned to a Pycnogenol® group or placebo group and were then instructed to take either one 50 mg Pycnogenol® tablet or one placebo tablet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening throughout the allergy season.

Patients were allowed to use non-prescription antihistamines as needed and recorded usage and dosage in treatment journals.

Blood was collected before and after treatment throughout the entire birch pollen season for the measurement of birch specific IgE antibodies. Comparison of birch specific IgE levels from the start of the trial and the end of allergy season showed an increase of 31.9 percent in the placebo group but only 19.4 percent in the Pycnogenol® group.

Subjects were instructed to rate nasal and eye symptoms (burning, itchy, watering or tearing eyes, redness, sneezing and stuffy, runny or itchy nose) daily recording values from zero (no symptoms) to three (severe, preventing normal activity) in their treatment journals
Throughout the birch pollen seasons around mid of April until end of May, the total average nasal and eye symptom score was lower in the Pycnogenol® group than in the placebo group the best results being obtained by those who started taking the pycnogenol before the onset of their symptoms. Only 12.5% of subjects taking Pycnogenol® seven weeks before the start of the birch season required non-prescription antihistamine medication compared to 50% of the placebo subjects.

Two earlier clinical trials showed that Pycnogenol® improves symptoms and breathing ability of asthma patients and significantly decreases leukotriene levels, an inflammatory mediator involved in asthma and hay fever alike.

Courtesy of Medical News Today



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