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D. The Historical Uses For Pine Bark Extract

Narrator: This is Science Today. Pine bark extract, a potent antioxidant marketed today as Pycnogenol, has a long history in folk medicine. Lester Packer, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley explains.

Packer: In America, part of the pine bark was used to apply onto inflamed wounds and sores and ulcers. Pine bark extract was also used as the basis for cough syrup. In Europe, it has been used for treatment of toothaches, against bleeding for bladder and kidney diseases. So it actually was used quite a bit in the old days.

Narrator: Pycnogenol is used today as a health food supplement because of it's high concentration of flavinoids, compounds which control free radicals.

Packer: You might eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and get a lot of these substances from that source and perhaps that's adequate, but maybe supplementing might give you even additional protection, but not everybody perhaps is so convinced yet.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.