Pine Cone Extract

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cherylsue, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Dr. Cheney recommends a pine cone extract. Has anybody tried this? I found a site that sells Pine Cone Extra ($59.95) and it purports to have all kinds of killer actvity.

    I tried this extra four years ago when I had my first bout. I didn't feel any worse or better for awhile, but I did manage to recover several months later.

    On another site I read that grapeseed is very similar in composition and is cheaper.

    So many choices, but what really works?

  2. Dlebbole

    Dlebbole New Member

    Hi CherylSue, I've read about pine cone extract years ago but I almost never hear anyone talking about it. It is supposed to shift the Th2 profile to Th1. Is that why you are interested? I am considering transfer factor, since it is supposed to do the same thing. Good luck. Diane
  3. Aspp

    Aspp Member

    Yes, I have used pinecone extract for a brief period last year, and just started on it again. I have taken it for about ten days now.

    I use a homemade pinecone extract (see recipe below).

    I combine it with echinacea which is another strong Th1-enhancer.

    When I first tried it last year, I got a fever for some days. As there is nothing in pinecones which should be harmful, I take it as a clue that my immune response was improved and started to fight infections.

    (By the way, we eat pine nuts from stone pine (Pinus pinea). In Sweden outdoor people like to make conifer needle tea. Generally, the needles are the only part of the pine that may be somewhat toxic, because of the resin which contains terpenes, and only in really large amounts. A few species may have toxic bark too. I am not a botanist, so you may want to check this. But common species and especially their cones should be perfectly safe.)

    There are a couple of commercially available pinecone extracts, as far as I know: ImmunExtra from Allera (they call the active ingredient Proligna), and Immunoflex from Cellderm (they call the ingredient Ligna-plex).

    They both hint at lignin which is a compound in wood. There is a lot of it – about one fourth of the dry weight of wood is lignin. (Lignum is Latin for wood).

    There is a lot of science and research available on the two companies' websites. It seems to be proven that pinecone works, I haven't read so much about the actual mechanisms.

    Maybe it also has a detoxifying effect, on top of the immune enhancement, because lignin is closely related to fulvic acid, a substance in peat etc. which can be used against heavy metals, among other things. Bacteria can degrade lignin to fulvic acid. However, I don't have any info that lignin is actually converted to fulvic acid or similar in the human body, this is just my speculation.

    The two commercial varieties are not available in Europe, and they are pretty expensive. (Although they say you only need a very low daily dose, so a bottle will last for a while).

    I peeked at one patent for extracting pinecone extract as a herbal supplement, and it is very simple, so I decided to cook my own. We have plenty of pines in my area.

    It is water soluble, so simply cooking pinecones in water will do (as in Japan where they traditionally brew tea on them). However, adding a base will make it more efficient so the more efficient recipe is to cook them for hours with a little sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. As these are caustic, you must then neutralize the fluid with an acid. Then you end up with a liquid of water, conifer extract and harmless table salt. (Or if you used potassium hydroxide you will get potassium chloride, known as equally harmless 'low sodium salt'). You can calculate this with simple high school chemistry, but if you don't know how to do it, it's perfectly OK just to boil the pinecones in water for some hours, remove the pinecones, and reduce the rest until you have a dark brown liquid. It gets VERY dark. And as a third method, of course you can prepare a tea like the Japanese do, but this is probably a little tedious if you take pinecone on a long-term basis.

    The two companies mention their dosage in mg of dry matter, and is in the 5 mg range, so you don't need much.

    I don't know the concentration of the homemade extract, but I take one teaspoon a day, which is probably a lot more - maybe some hundreds mg. I'll try and lower the dose and see if it still works. I have found no sources saying that pinecone is harmful in any way. And apart from the slight fever during the first 1-2 days I have noticed no adverse effects.

    Of course, if you have chronic infections, the remedy may be too successfull in the beginning, so if you get strong reactions you should lower the dose.

    The taste is like you'd expect - wood with a pine note - like aged whisky without the alcohol. It's not pungent like conifer resin, and not bitter like most herbal extracts.

    I made two versions, with young and with old pinecones. I expected the young ones (greenish and not yet opened) to work best, but it seems, on the contrary, that the old ones are much stronger. So now I use only my 'old pinecone' extract. Pinecones grow over 3 years or so until mature, so there will probably be a substantial difference from the young first-year ones.

    As far as my research told me, every species of pine (Pinus) can be used. One of the companies use Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and the other one, as far as I remember, uses unspecified American pinecones.

    Don't mix them up with fir (pinales) or yew (taxacea) (yew is poisonous), but this is easy, as every child can tell the difference between pine and fir. (Or at least we could when I grew up in the 1980s, but maybe they spend less time outdoors today ...)

    Now, this is an easy-to-make herbal extract, and the herb is really easy to find. Also, it is supposed to be an extremely efficient Th1 enhancer. So it's potentially a lot of benefit for a low cost. Of course you can also try and buy the commercially made extracts. Is probably still good value for your health.