Whether you’re in the middle of your menopausal years or they’ve already passed, the hormonal changes can wreak havoc on your body. Luckily, there are so many natural remedies out there that can help you manage the worst of your symptoms. If you have varicose veins and struggle with hot flashes, pine bark extract is one treatment to consider.
Pine bark extract, as the name suggests, is literally made from the bark of maritime pine trees. The bark is first ground into a fine powder, washed and soaked in hot water, then strained to create an “extract.” Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, pine bark extract has become a popular supplement — especially among menopausal women.
A growing body of research suggests that pine bark extract could be used as an effective natural remedy for a wide range of menopause symptoms. One study on 38 perimenopausal women showed that taking 100 milligrams of pine bark extract every day for eight weeks results in significant improvements in hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irregular periods, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness. Another study found that the same dose alleviated insomnia and general sleep issues for perimenopausal women after just four weeks of supplementing.
Speaking of annoying menopause issues, varicose veins are veins that become enlarged and overfilled with blood. They usually show up as blue, purple, or red swollen raised lines on the lower legs (though you can have them in other places), and they can be quite uncomfortable or even painful. The rise and drop of estrogen and progesterone during the peri- and menopausal phases of a woman’s life can cause our vein walls to become less flexible, leading to the frustrating condition.
Luckily, phytonutrients in pine bark extract may work to combat this. One study out of Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, included 133 women with varicose veins. It was recommended that all the women wear compression stockings (as is the standard treatment for varicose veins), and 64 of the women took 100 milligrams of pine bark daily. Results showed that those who took the supplement had significantly reduced the number of varicose veins and spider veins than the group who didn’t take the extract. They also experienced less pain, swelling, and leg cramps after the six-month trial.
“This study builds upon decades of research that shows Pycnogenol [brand name for pine bark extract] to be a safe, effective, natural solution for venous insufficiency and the associated problems,” said Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study. “Pycnogenol has been found to seal capillaries and stop the outflow of blood into tissue that causes swelling. It supports the production of endothelial nitric oxide to improve blood vessel function and blood flow.”
Thankfully, pine bark extract is really affordable and easy to use. As always, consult your doctor before taking any new supplement. You can take pine bark extract as a supplement in pill form. We love these capsules from Now Foods (Buy on Amazon, $14.21).
Here’s to putting menopausal bothers to rest!