This pine tree can grow to a height of 45 meters, with a broad crown that contains long branches. The needle-like leaves can be as long as eight inches, and the cones can approach three inches in length. The bark is initially orange or red, which darkens to greyish-brown as the tree ages. The cones open in late winter, and the seeds are released in mid-spring.
The primary commercial value of P. massoniana is in plantation forestry, where it replaces natural forests. It also provides commercial sources of rosin and turpentine. The leaves are often used as a tea flavouring.
The most pharmaceutically active components in P. massoniana bark are a class of polyphenols known as ProanthoCyanidolic Oligomers (PCOs). The natural purpose of these chemicals is to defend the tree against insects, bacteria and other microorganisms that attack the tree. The French chemist Jacques Masquelier first extracted Proanthocyanidolic Oligomers (PCOs), also known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), from pine bark and grape seeds in 1947. He later patented this process and continued his research on OPCs into the 1980s.
OPCs are often used in health supplements for their antioxidant activity. This property allows them to inhibit the reactions of free radicals that would otherwise damage the cells in your body, especially the membranes. Antioxidants therefore provide a large number of specific health benefits.
The most significant uses of pine bark extract relates to the value of PCOs as an antioxidant. The specific benefits include healthy inflammation management in addition to support for epidermal connective tissue (skin) and capillaries.
Major health benefits of PCOs for the Human Body
Besides many other health benefits, there three major benefits of a frequent Pine Bark Extract consumption for the human body are:
- Powerful antioxidant cell protection from harmful free radical molecules
- Strong vascular and capillary support – essential for nutrient delivery and cellular waste removal
- Potent skin collagen protection from collagen degradation
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The scientific research team behind CLINIVITA researches Pinus massoniana and PCOs for its health benefits in various therapeutic areas.