Antioxidant derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree. The term pycnogenol was previously used generically, but is now a U.S.-registered trademark. Only one company (Horphag Research, Ltd.) has access to this ingredient, and it is patent-protected.
There is a great deal of research on pycnogenol. However, most of the research dates back to 1990 and earlier. Prior to and even after pycnogenol was trademarked, it was used freely as a generic term for procyanidins. Procyanidins (also known as proanthocyanidins) are pigments belonging to the flavonoid family of ingredients. In addition to being derived from pine bark, procyanidins occur naturally in grape seeds (so red wine is a good source), peanut skins, unripe strawberries, apples, and cocoa beans.
There are studies supporting the notion that pycnogenol is a potent antioxidant.