The nonprofit American Botanical Council has announced Horphag Research as the recipient of its annual Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award. Horphag Research, based in Switzerland, is the producer of Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster) extract, which is used in hundreds of brands and formulas of dietary supplements, as well as in cosmetics, functional foods and beverages.

“Horphag Research and its entire team are, of course, very honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Victor Ferrari, CEO of Horphag Research. “It is an important recognition for the scientific work that has been established over so many years on one single and unique product–Pycnogenol.”

Horphag Research was founded in Berlin in 1925 as HormopharmaAG by Charles Haimoff. In the 1960s, Haimoff’s vision of “healthy aging” led to the development of the antioxidant French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol®. Research on the product began in 1965, and, just two years later, the first preparations were being sold in Europe. By 1987, Horphag was awarded its first US patent, and in 2003 Pycnogenol was self-affirmed to be GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for use in food products. Sales of Pycnogenol products to consumers now exceed $500 million annually and are sold in more than 80 countries around the world.

“For 40 years, Horphag has invested in extensive research to ensure the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a premium ingredient,” said Frank Schönlau, PhD, scientific director for Horphag Research. “For more than a decade, I have personally overseen much of the research as we have built upon that commitment. I am extremely proud to see the team recognized for its dedication to making Pycnogenol one of the most well-researched natural health supplements available today.”

“ABC congratulates Horphag Research for this most well-deserved and probably overdue honor,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC. “Horphag Research is the epitome of a research-based natural products company, investing millions of dollars in scores of clinical research trials on its key product, Pycnogenol.

“Professor Varro Tyler was one of my key mentors for about 20 years. He repeatedly emphasized his desire to see herb companies invest in scientific and clinical research on their herb and phytomedicinal products. I have no doubt that if he were alive today, he would fully endorse ABC’s choosing Horphag this year to receive his eponymous award,” continued Blumenthal.

The late Prof. Tyler—who has been described as one of the most respected men in late 20th century herbal medicine and pharmacognosy (the study of medicines of natural origin, usually from plants)—was an early trustee of ABC, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Purdue University, and vice president of academic affairs at Purdue. He was the senior author of six editions of the leading textbook in the field, formerly used in every college of pharmacy in the United States.

Prof. Tyler urged his students and colleagues “not only to seek the truth but, after finding it, to discard any preconceived ideas which it may reveal as untrue.” He encouraged scientific and product integrity and envisioned a rational herbal healthcare sector that valued the proper evaluation of products’ quality, safety and efficacy.

“Receiving the American Botanical Council’s Tyler Award provides not only credibility to our scientific work, but also a tremendous motivation to our team to continue providing scientific evidence on a multitude of health benefits of Pycnogenol,” said Ferrari. “We are not only blessed with one of the most versatile and well-documented products in this industry, but also with the most professional and dedicated team.”

According to Horphag, the extensive study of Pycnogenol has resulted in more than 100 published clinical studies and 300 scientific publications. Horphag Research’s bibliography includes studies on a diverse group of topics, including antioxidant properties, cardiovascular health, skincare, joint health, sports nutrition and more. Recently published studies show the abilities of Pycnogenol to reduce perimenopausal symptoms, improve skin hydration and elasticity, reduce asthma symptoms, and improve endothelial function.

This proliferation of research and the popularity of Pycnogenol products are likely what caught the eye of celebrated surgeon and TV host Mehmet Oz, MD, who recently spent a segment of his “Dr. Oz” show discussing the benefits of Pycnogenol for younger-looking skin. The effects extolled by Oz are perfectly in line with the company’s motto of helping people “look, feel and live better.”

The Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award will be presented at the 8th Annual American Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony on March 7 in Anaheim, Calif. The ABC event occurs during the annual Nutracon conference and Natural Products Expo West and is open to ABC Sponsor and Corporate members.