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Pine Tree Bark May Fight Arthritis Pain

Folk remedy shows anti-inflammatory properties in lab tests

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Your Christmas tree may be both beautiful and beneficial to your health.

Finnish researchers say a group of anti-inflammatory compounds called phenolics found in the bark of Scotch pine -- a popular choice for Christmas trees -- may prove effective in fighting arthritis and pain.

These compounds, which have shown promise in preliminary laboratory tests with cells, are likely found in the bark of other species of pine trees as well, the scientists said in a study that will appear in the Dec. 29 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

This preliminary study found that highly purified preparations of Scotch pine bark extract had potent anti-inflammatory activity. Much more research is needed to determine how much of this extract might be required to be effective and whether it may cause harmful side effects.

Pine bark extract is a folk remedy that's been used by people around the world to treat various health problems, from wounds to coughs. Recent research suggests that pine bark extract may have the potential to help treat high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, and skin cancer, the study noted.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has more about inflammation.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, Dec. 13, 2004
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