Ow, Christmas tree

The Scots pine makes a fine Christmas tree, but its bark also yields a compound that could be developed into a food supplement for easing the pain of arthritis. The publication of this finding is timely on two counts not only in terms of the festive season but because of safety concerns about current and recently withdrawn arthritis drugs and the need to find alternatives. Preliminary studies by Kalevi Pihlaja of the University of Turku in Finland show that the highly purified phenolics extracted from the bark of Pinus sylvestris have putative anti-inflammatory properties. There are yet to carry out efficacy and safety tests so there will be no early Christmas present for sufferers just yet.