In the 1500's a French explorer and his crew were on an exhibition in Canada when they were nearly wiped out by scurvy. Local Native Indians gave them a tea brewed from the bark and needles of the Maritime Pine Tree and it saved the crew. The benefits from this wonderful tree was researched in later times and it was found to contain Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC).
OPC's are a set of bioflavonoid complexes that perform as free radical scavengers in the human body. One major benefit of the OPC's is their extreme potency as antioxidants in the body.
Most notably Proanthocyanidin's are found in pine bark, grape seed and grape skin, however, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids.
OPC's are primarily known for their antioxidant activity. However, these compounds have also been reported to demonstrate antibacterial, antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and vasodilatory actions. Supplementing with oligomeric proanthocyanidins can help avert many disorders and boost general health.
Supplementation with OPC extracted from the bark of the Maritime Pine bark and from grape seeds has been shown to protect against cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases and to have numerous other benefits, including: lowering LDL cholesterol levels, reducing platelet aggregation, increasing the strength and elasticity of blood vessels, helping collagen repair itself, reducing oedema and inflammation, relieving functional problems associated with varicose veins, lessening the tendency toward diabetic retinopathy, and improving skin health.
You can read a Monograph on OPC via the attached link:
This Monograph was originally published in 2003 and close to 20 years down the track the benefits of OPC supplementation (or similar) are well known and widely accepted in mainstream and alternative health practices.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC's) may also have potential use in cancer prevention and treatment. The antioxidant effect of OPC's has already been confirmed in clinical studies: as genetic damage caused by free radicals is one of the primary causes of many cancers- the antioxidant effect of OPC's prevent free radical formation. OPC's help in the treatment of cancer by inhibiting the initiation and progress of cancer cells. The OPC called Pycnogenol was found to help increase the resistance to cancer in the body in research conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona. The Pycnogenol boosted the production of the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells and this translated into increased resistance to cancer cells by forty to fifty percent. One out of three forms of cancer arises due to the production of nitrous oxide- NO, in the body. This free radical causes chronic inflammation in the tissues and damages DNA, increasing the likelihood of cancer. Pycnogenol neutralizes NO, before the damaging free radical in the cells. Pycnogenol also suppresses the activity of a gene that is responsible for enzymes that are responsible for metabolic pathways that lead to overproduction of NO. This ensures that NO synthesis is regulated at the cellular level.
This super nutrient may support virtually every metabolic system in the body, hence the reason why we herbalists strongly recommend that it be taken every day!