A Scandinavian study has revealed that pine bark can reduce the symptoms of the menopause.
Research in a forthcoming issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology shows that Pycnogenol, a pine bark extract from the French maritime pine tree, inhibits 'climacteric symptoms' such as hot flashes, depression, panic attacks and other common symptoms associated with women beginning the menopause.
The results suggest Pycnogenol may provide an alternative to oestrogen replacement therapy, the most common treatment for pre-menopause symptoms.
Lead researcher Dr Peter Rohdewald commented: "There is a shift away from the use of hormone replacement therapy due to side effects and in its absence women are searching for safe and natural options to help manage their symptoms.
"This study investigating Pycnogenol as a potential natural alternative is very encouraging in view of the safety of Pycnogenol as it does not bear any hormone-like activities at all."
Other studies have suggested that the drug alleviates menstrual pain and endometriosis.