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Man too dizzy to drive.
Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
Pycnogenol is a substance taken from the pine bark of trees found in the southwest region of France. Pycnogenol has several benefits to your health and beauty. However, it is also important to see beyond the pyncogenol marketing campaign and understand the possible dangers associated with this natural supplement.
Pycnogenol and Your Blood
According to the National Institute of Health, studies have shown that pycnogenol extract improves circulation. This benefit can help people with cold hands or those with a tendency to bruise easily. Further studies by the National Institute of Health show pycnogenol can also act as an anticoagulant. This means that it makes it more difficult for blood to clot. While this may help prevent a stroke, it can also be very dangerous if you have bleeding disorders and it can even increase the risk of hemorrhaging.
While some people take this herb to feel more alert and energized, you need to take care not to take too much pycnogenol. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, some people taking pycnogenol report difficulty falling asleep at night. Other reported side effects include dizziness, headaches, upset stomach and nausea. The National Health Institute recommends not taking pycnogenol for more than six months or in quantities that exceed 450 mg per day.
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, pycnogenol also shows effectiveness in treating allergies, and some people take it before the onset of allergy season. For some, however, pyncogenol is actually an allergen. Some rare and possibly fatal allergies can develop for people taking pycnogenol. Signs of an allergic reaction to pcynogenol mimic typical allergy symptoms including wheezing or shortness of breath, rash, chest pain, and swelling of body parts including the face, hands or feet. To avoid potential allergic reactions to this drug, you should take pycnogenol under the supervision of a medical professional.
Interaction with Medications
One of the reported benefits of pycnogenol is that it boosts the immune system. However, this quality also means that it can cause harmful interactions with some other medications, such as immunosuppressant drugs. These are commonly referred to as anti-rejection drugs, and they are taken following organ transplants to aid your body in accepting the new organ. Be sure to consult a medical professional and inform them of any other drugs you currently take prior to taking pycnogenol.