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Pinus massoniana

Pinus massoniana is a species of pine, native to a wide area of central and southern China, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and northern Vietnam, growing at low to moderate altitudes, mostly below 1,500 m but rarely up to 2,000 m altitude. It is an evergreen tree reaching 25-45 m in height, with a broad rounded crown of long branches. The bark is thick, greyish-brown, and scaly plated at the base of the trunk. The leaves are needle-like, dark green, with two per fascicle, 12-20 cm long and 0.8-1 mm wide.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Indian Names
Chemical Constituents
Pinus massoniana bark contains catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, dihydroquercetin, taxifolin, phenolic acids and procyanidin dimers, trimers, oligomers and polymers formed from catechin and epicatechin. The most common commercially available pine bark extract is Pycnogenol, a phenolic tree extract containing the naturally occurring chemicals called proanthocyanidins (1). Phytosterols are one of the important components of Pinus massoniana needles. Pine needles contains six kinds of phytosterols, are isolated and identified, which are β-sitosterol, stigmastanol, campesterol, stigmast-7-en-3-ol, ergostanol, stigmast-5,24(28)-dien-3-ol, the identified compounds accounted for 99.31% of total content. Various column chromatographies with D-101 macroreticular resin, Toyopearl HW-40 and silica gel were employed for the isolation and purification of compounds from the pine needles. The structures of the compounds were identified by physiochemical properties and spectral analysis. Results four compounds were isolated from the n -BuOH fraction of water-extracts, and their structures were identified as 3-methoxyl-9′- O -α- L -rhamnopyranosyl-4′:7,5′:8-diepoxyneoligan-4,9-dio4,4′,8,8′,9-pentahydroxyl-3,3′-dimethoxyl-7,9′-monoepoxylignan (II), umbelliferon (III), 4-(4′-hydroxyl-3′-methoxylbenzyl)-2-butanone (IV) (2). Oils removed by steam distillation from pine needles possess many chemical constituents. Especially, the content of alpha-pinene and beta-pinene is important in the essential oils from Pinus massoniana. Pine bark is an important product of pine tree. Pine bark extract is used for its antioxidant activity. The major constituents in pine bark extracts are proanthocyanidins. GC/MS analyses of pine bark led to the identification of ethyl esters of hexadecanoic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid, as well as smaller phenolic and terpene components .
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pine bark extracts have received considerable attention because of their anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti carcinogenic and high antioxidant activity. Proanthocyanidins is one of the important constituent of pine bark. Proanthocyanidins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti carcinogenic and immune-modulating activities and have been reported to significantly affect circulation, inflammation and immune response. It has also reported that proanthocyanidins accelerate the wound healing process and serve as potent active ingredients for the treatment of minor injuries (4). It has been demonstrated that Pinus massoniana bark extract has strong, dose-dependent antioxidant and radical scavenging activities beneficial for anti tumor or anti carcinogenic activity. Bark extract also suppressed the growth of human liver cancer BEL- 7402 cells without impacting the growth of normal liver L-02 cells, at an effective concentration range similar to that of the chemotherapeutic agent, cisplatin. Pycnogenol is a component obtained from pine bark. It is composed of a mixture of flavonoids, mainly procyandins and phenolic acids. Pycnogenol has been reported to have cardiovascular benefits, such as a vasorelaxant activity, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibiting activity, and the ability to enhance the microcirculation by increasing capillary permeability. Investigations of the cellular mechanisms of these therapeutic effects have demonstrated that PYC has strong free radical-scavenging activity against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.
Health Benefits
Pinus massoniana tree of the Pinaceae family is grown in the south regions of China. Its needle, bark and turpentine have been used for Chinese folk medicine. Its bark is used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote constringency, haemostasis and detoxification. It has been variously prescribed for the treatment of rheumatism, arthralgia, and hypertension. Pinus massoniana bark extracts possess antioxidant effect and free radical scavenging activities. In addition, the effects of PMBE on human normal liver cells and liver cancer cells were examined. The results suggest that PMBE may be an easily accessible source of natural antioxidants that could be used as a possible food supplement or a candidate precursor substance for new anticancer therapeutics (6). Flavonoids are a large group of naturally occurring polyphenols found in bark that have been reported to scavenge free radicals, act as anti mutagens and anti carcinogens, and stimulate the immune system It has also been reported that flavonoids may act against inflammatory, bacterial, viral, fungal, hormonal, neoplastic and allergic disorders both in vitro and in vivo (7). It is reported that oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) found in Pinus massoniana has many beneficial activities. It helps strengthen capillaries, arteries and veins, which endows it several important clinical applications. OPCs appear to stabilize the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and generally support tissues containing collagen and elastin.
Application in Cosmetics
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins is one of the important constituents of Pinus massoniana possesses high antioxidant activity thus it thought to prevent the skin from excessive ultraviolet radiation and free radicals. Studies have indicated that OPCs also protects and strengthens collagen and elastin of the skin, so that wrinkles are prevented and elasticity of the skin is maintained. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins can also be used in the treatment for aging skin as it repairs the elastin and collagen and gives youthful appearance to the skin.
Research References
1. Shen C., Duan W., Cen B. and Tan J. Comparison of chemical components of essential oils in needles of Pinus massoniana Lamb and Pinus elliottottii Engelm from Guangxi. Se Pu. 2006 ;24(6):619-24 2. Zheng G.Y., Song Q., Zhou W., and Du J., Analysis of refined pine-needles phytosterols from Pinus massoniana lamb, and analysis by GC-MS. Chemistry and Industry of Forest Products 2009 29 : 210-212 3. X. Yang, H. T. Zhao, J. Wang, Q. Meng, H. Zhang, L. Yao1, Y. C. Zhang1, A. J. Dong1, Y.Ma1, Z. Y. Wang1, D. C. Xu1 and Y. Ding. Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of essential oil of pine cones of Pinus armandii from the Southwest region of China Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 2010 4(16):1668-1672 4. Packer L., Rimbach G., and Virgili F. Antioxidant activity and biologic properties of a procyanidin-rich extract from pine (Pinus maritima) bark, pycnogenol. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 27(5-6):704-24 5. Ma H, Liu B, Feng D, Xie H, Li R, Yuchi Y, Wang H, Wang J. Pinus massoniana bark extract selectively induces apoptosis in human hepatoma cells, possibly through caspase-dependent pathways. Int J Mol Med. 2010 25(5):751-9 6. Cui Y., Xie H. and Wang J. Potential biomedical properties of Pinus massoniana bark extract. Phytother Res. 2005 19(1):34-38 7. Limei Yu, Mouming Z. , , Jin W., Chun C., Bao Y., Yueming J., and Qiangzhong Z., Antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-breast cancer activities of phenolic extract from pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb) bark Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies 2008 9(1): 122-128 8. Nam-Y. K., Min-K. J., and Dong-G. L., Ki H. Y., HyeJi J., Mihyang K.,Comparison of methods for proanthocyanidin extraction from pine (Pinusdensiflora) needles and biological activities of the extracts Nutr Res Pract 2010 4(1):16-22