HEALTHY LIVING
03/08/2012 05:44 pm ET

Pycnogenol, Pine Bark Extract, Could Help Relieve Menopausal Symptoms, Study Finds

A plant extract could have big benefits for women who are just starting menopause, according to a small new study.

Research published in the journal Panminerva Medica shows that taking Pycnogenol, which is a supplement of plant extract taken from French maritime pine tree bark, helps relieve menopausal symptoms.

The researchers from Pescara University conducted the study on 70 perimenopausal women, meaning the women were at the time of their lives either right before or after their last period. They were all between the ages of 40 and 50. The women were separated into two groups: One was given 100 milligrams of Pycnogenol a day (50 milligrams that they took twice daily), for an eight-week period; the other group was given a placebo.

The researchers had the women rate their menopausal symptoms from a list of 33 signs and symptoms, with 0 being a lack of the symptom and 4 being a very serious symptom. Researchers also measured the women's oxidative stress.

After the eight-week study period, researchers found that the women who took the Pycnogenol had improved menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, decreased libido, night sweats and vaginal dryness (their scores decreased from an average of 2.67 on the 4-point scale to an average of 1.45). The women who took Pycnogenol also had lower oxidative stress, compared with the placebo group, according to the study.

Recently, a study in the journal Menopause showed that another non-drug solution for menopausal symptoms: Yoga. While the study didn't prove that yoga can cure menopausal symptoms, it did show that it can "improve and relieve them," study researcher Dr. Helena Hachul, of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, told Reuters.

For more natural remedies for menopausal symptoms, click through the slideshow:

Menopause Treatment: 10 Natural Remedies

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