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What Is White Pine Bark?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 March 2014
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White pine bark refers to the hard outer layer of the white pine tree, which usually grows on the bottom half of the tree once it reaches a particular height. The bark is used for food and nesting materials for many animals, and it has long been used for various medicinal purposes for humans. Commonly, it is used both as a preventative supplement against a host of diseases and conditions and as a treatment for illness and injury after they have occurred.

The American Indians used white pine bark by soaking it overnight in water and then applying it to wounds. It was also used by boiling the inner portions of sapling trees and drinking the tea as a treatment for dysentery. Both were likely effective in part because white pine bark contains high levels of antioxidants, which help maintain proper cell reproduction. This makes it useful in both repairing illnesses and wounds, and in preventing certain conditions from occurring.

By taking white pine bark as a supplement, one may help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Certain cancers may also be prevented, such a skin cancer, because the antioxidants help promote healthy cell division while keeping free radicals at bay. Free radicals are cells that show abnormal properties when compared to healthy ones. They are most often to blame for cancer development.

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Using white pine bark may also help promote healthier circulation and blood flow, aiding in prevention of certain heart conditions and result in fewer difficulties while sitting for long periods of time or at high elevations. When used in patients who are on bed rest for long periods of time, this may help prevent discomfort, decrease complications, and reduce the number of bedsores by improving circulation.

Other uses for white pine bark include relieving symptoms associated with cold and flu or other respiratory infections, and improving concentration and brain function. It is used often as a natural aid in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many believe that thanks to the antioxidants, white pine bark greatly enhances immune function, thereby making it a good preventive aid for almost any illness.

Consumers can purchase white pine bark supplements in many health food stores and online on specialty websites. Both pills and liquid solutions can be purchased. Whole food supplements are generally the best, and there is some evidence which suggests that liquid versions may be better absorbed into the body than pill versions, but this is has not been definitively proven.

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