Got jet lag? Go chew on a pine tree

It's not as silly as it sounds. Researchers today said that pine bark extract, reduces jet lag in passengers by nearly 50%. 

Jetlag, also called desynchronosis, is a temporary ailment that causes a variety of irritating and sometime severe mental and physical problems usually as a result of long air travel.  Researchers said it is caused by the body struggling to cope with a new schedule, temporary conditions such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability and an impaired ability to concentrate. Not to mention lousy, airline food and cramped conditions inside most modern aircraft.

In a study, pine tree extract known as Pycnogenol lowered symptoms of jetlag such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia and brain swelling in healthy people and hypertensive patients. Passengers also experienced minimal lower leg edema, a common condition associated with long flights, researchers said.

The study, conducted at the G. D'Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy, looked at 133 passengers who took flights that were seven to nine hours in length. Fifty mg of oral Pycnogenol was administered three times daily, for seven days, starting two days prior to the flight.

It's not the first time pine tree extract has been demonstrated to be beneficial for jet lag.  A study published in Clinical Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis recorded passengers supplementing with Pycnogenol on long distance flights lasting 7-12 hours were significantly protected from thrombotic events, complications resulting from deep vein thrombosis and superficial vein thrombosis. In 2005, a study published in Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis showed Pycnogenol to be effective in reducing leg and ankle swelling during long airplane flights lasting seven to 12 hours, researchers said.

According to researchers Pycnogenol is a plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide, researchers said.

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