Copied from Fidonet "CFS Echo"
Date: 04-23-94
From: Sweet Sue
Origin: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome...One Of Lifes Mysteries (1:352/266)

Hi, everybody. My real name is Iris Grayson but you can call me anything you like (so long as it's not nasty!) (and if you respond to this post, please respond to Sweet Sue).

There's a natural, nutritional supplement I just recently learned about that has helped a lot of people with a lot of different things. It's called pcynogenol (pronounced: pick-nahj'-en-awl) and is compounded primarily from the extract of the maritime pine bark (main ingredient from this plant material is proanthocyanidins).

History of pycnogenol

It was actually discovered in the 1500s (or earlier) in St. Lawrence, Canada by native Americans, I believe, but more recently, has been perfected by a Jack Masquelier (inventor) and Piere Claveau in France.

Patented in the U.S. under Patent #4,698,360 on October 6, 1987 as "Plant Extract With a Proanthocyanidins Content as Therapeutic Agent Having Radical Scavenger Effect and Use Thereof."

The abstract of the patent says: The invention provides a method for preventing and fighting the harmful biological effects of free radicals in the organism of warm-blooded animals and more especially human beings, namely cerebral involution, hypoxia following atherosclerosis, cardiac or cerebral infarction, tumour promotion, inflammation, ischaemia, alterations of the synovial liquid, collagen degradation, among others. The method consists of administering to said animals and especially to human beings an amount, effificient against said effects, of a plant extract with a proanthocyanidins content which has a radical scavenger effect, the extract being in the form of a medicament and coming more especially from the bark of conifers.

Highlights of pycnogenol's properties

The most powerful, natural free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant yet discovered; a new, highly bioavailable bioflavinoid complex which is rapidly absorbed and distributed throughout the body within minutes of ingestion; is 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E as an anti-oxidant; inhibits free radicals and reconstructs correct alignment of collagen fibers in aging or damaged connective tissue; is the only known anti-oxidant to cross the blood brain barrier to protect oxygent to the brain and central nervous system (strokes, CFS?, Parkinson's, M.S.); binds to collagen fibers, realigning them to a more youthful, undamaged structure, thereby, elasticity and flexibility are restored to connective tissue; acts as a smooth muscle-relaxant in blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure; is fully researched and supported by numerous clinical studies for over 20 years; is scientifically proven to be non-toxic, highly bioavailable and continues to be effective over long-term usage.

Personal trials

I've been taking this stuff for a week now--I'd been suffering from something in my bladder for which the urologist has been unable to find any pathology. (Symptoms: incredibly frequent urination, painful pressure). Diabetes is not a factor and urologist ruled out bladder cancer, interstitial cystitis, kidney involvement, etc. Just sees an inflammation--an inflammation which has kept me on the run and extremely uncomfortable for almost 2 months now.

In desperation, I shared this information with a co-worker of mine who told me about and sold me some pycnogenol. She has undergone 9 surgeries (cancer and other things I can't remember) and told me that within hours of taking her first dosage of pycnogenol, she was finally free of the pain for which they've been threatening to operate on her a 10th time! That first day (a week ago) was very sunny and pleasant here, and later that week, she told me the lack of pain persisted even on cold, damp days! She told her chiropractor, who was amazed and is now telling his other clients about it.

Within hours of taking this (it shows up in the saliva within 1 hour of taking), I noticed a minimization of symptoms (it was a few hours before I had to void my bladder again, and the pressure was lessened). Within 2 days, I noted a reversal and continued minimization of symptoms. It's been a week now and the reversal is continuing. Also, within 4-5 days, I noticed my liver spots are beginning to get much lighter and smaller, and one or two I'm aware of have almost faded to nothing. Also, I'm morbidly obese and this has taken its toll primarily on my knee joints. Over the last two days, I noticed that my knees are feeling ever-so-slightly better, and when they crackle (as they do often, especially climbing stairs), they no longer painfully go "pop." Maybe these things are coincidence (except for the liver spots), but I don't think so. They are within the realm of what pycnogenol suggests it may provide some help for. If it's benefiting me in other ways, it's too subtle to report on at this time.

The only side effects I've noticed are: a vaguely pine-y (or menthol) taste in my mouth and a deepening in urine color (which may be due to my particular condition rather than a side effect).

I have never before taken a product that delivered on some of its suggested uses. This is the first (and in some cases I have taken long-term doses of all the other anti-oxidants (beta carotene, A, C, E, and zinc with no noticeable effects)). I want to get this information to anyone who has not heard about it and is suffering from just about anything that is making life miserable for you. Perhaps this might help?

Anyone else tried it?

If there's anyone out there with experience taking pycnogenol, I'm interested in hearing about your experiences, negative or positive.

Additional Info about pycnogenol

There's a small publication available (at health food stores?) for about $3.00 by a Richard Passwater. Unfortunately, I don't yet have a copy and can't remember the exact title, but it's called something like "Super AntiOxidant Effects." Gives lots and lots of technical information on this pycnogenol (some way too technical for me to understand it in the brief time I got to look at the book). I'm going to check around at health food stores today to see if I can find a copy of the book.

Some health food stores carry pycnogenol in various formulations and it's way, way up there in price. If you can't find it in your local stores and are interested in more information about pycnogenol (copies of the patent, copies of information on The Oxygenated Free Radical and a copy of an audio cassette tape by a chiropractor with his anecdotal cases), please send:

  1. an inexpensive, blank 90-minute audio-cassette tape, and
  2. a self-addressed mailer with sufficient postage to accommodate the return of your tape plus 8 pages of photocopied material to:

Iris Grayson
220 Israel Rd SW, #A-4
Tumwater, WA 98501

If you are wary (I understand), or you'd feel more comfortable talking to a human first, feel free to call me at (206) 534-9795. I'm not really well-versed in this yet, but I'll do the best I can do answer your questions. Best times: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (PST). If I'm not home, please leave a message, and let me know if it's okay to return your call --COLLECT-- and when is the best time to reach you.

If you forget to include (or don't want) the tape, I will send only the photocopies--so adjust the postage accordingly. If there's no return address on the mailer you provide, I will not be able to return your stuff. If there's no postage or insufficient postage, I can't afford to return (depending on number of you who respond). So please do your best to remember the self-addressed mailer and postage. (I'm also thinking of transcribing the audio-tape, so perhaps in a few weeks, a formatted floppy disk might do the trick!)

Depending on size of response, I hope to get this out to you within a week of receipt (it takes me 45 mins to copy each 90-min tape).

Web page design by Bill Jackson, 1996.

Any comments? Send them to Bill Jackson at

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