Written by Mercey Livingston
What You Need to Know About French Maritime Pine Bark Extract – A Naturally Derived Remedy for Increased Sexual Satisfaction
A loss of sexual satisfaction, fewer and/or weaker orgasms, and decreased physical arousal are common symptoms that women experience during menopause. These problems may not be talked about as often for women compared to men – as society has normalized sexual issues like these for men (thanks to Viagra). But just because these common menopause symptoms are not normalized (yet), it's time for women to know their options and the real causes behind these issues.
One option for addressing sexual dissatisfaction and the associated symptoms is French maritime pine bark, which is a natural plant extract that offers support for these menopause symptoms, without utilizing hormonal pathways. Many women either cannot or prefer not to rely on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage these symptoms, due to medical contraindications, including breast cancer. French maritime pine bark extract is clinically studied, effective, and naturally derived – here's everything you need to know about how it can support you during perimenopause and menopause.
What is French Maritime Pine Bark Extract?
"French maritime pine bark is an extract that comes from the bark of certain pine trees – pine trees that are exclusively grown in the largest forest in Europe," says Jim Komorowski, Bonafide Chief Science Officer. The bark is then turned into a powder, which is a better, more absorbable form for it to be used in products like Bonafide’s Ristela®. French maritime pine bark extract is known for being rich in nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. In addition to those pro-health properties, researchers have found that French maritime pine bark extract can help increase blood flow.
While French maritime pine bark extract has benefits when taken on its own, Bonafide found that when strategically combining it with other naturally derived ingredients it produced even better results. This is why you'll find supportive ingredients like rose hip extract, and the amino acids L-Arginine and L-Citrulline in Ristela, which work together with the French maritime pine bark extract to safely increase blood flow to the genitals to enhance physical arousal and orgasm in women.*
The way this works on the body specifically in relation to sexual arousal is through its effect on nitric oxide. "When we're excited, our body secretes a substance called nitric oxide. And nitric oxide is a gas that's in our blood that tells our blood vessels to relax and dilate. And by doing that, more blood can go through. So, the French maritime pine bark extract actually enhances that effect," explains Komorowski.
How French Maritime Pine Bark Extract Can Help Increase Sexual Satisfaction
French maritime pine bark extract, in combination with the other ingredients in Ristela, work together to increase blood flow to the vaginal area, making it easier for sexually active women to become physically aroused and experience orgasm.*
"Sexual function relies on many variables for women," says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, Bonafide Chief Medical Officer. In menopause some common causes of sexual dysfunction include:
- Hormonal fluctuations due to perimenopause and menopause or in some cases, hormonal contraception
- Relationship discord, depressed mood, and anxiety
- Diminished sexual esteem; for example, due to weight gain/obesity, boredom and being in a sexual rut, even in a happy relationship, and stress.
For women who are taking SSRIs, sexual symptoms are often reported as negative side effects from depressed moods or from the medications that treat it. "For women taking antidepressants, sexual side effects such as low libido or impaired orgasm are not atypical. Ristela is not only safe to take with antidepressants, but one study also found sexual function in these women improved with Ristela," says Dr. Dweck.
Which of These Issues Can Ristela Help Address?
You might be wondering how Ristela and French maritime pine bark extract differ from a drug like Viagra, for example. "Both Ristela and Viagra increase blood flow to the genitals during sexual response, but the mechanism by which they work, differs," explains Dr. Dweck. "Ristela increases an enzyme (eNOS) which increases nitric oxide production. This helps blood vessels to dilate and enhances sensitivity, lubrication, and orgasm potential. Viagra inhibits PDE5 resulting in smooth muscle relaxation and an influx of blood to the penis," says Dr. Dweck.
You won't feel immediate effects when taking Ristela, however, if you take it consistently, over time you will experience the benefits. Clinical studies show that by two months, you can expect the best results. Unlike Viagra, Ristela does not cause an immediate response but gives your body the nutrients it needs to enhance natural arousal and sexual satisfaction over time, when taken regularly.
Before taking French maritime pine bark extract or Ristela, it's important to check in with your healthcare provider to uncover any medical issues that could be a potential underlying cause of your symptoms. "It may also be helpful to consider counseling, introduce novelty to sexual play, adding sex toys to the repertoire, and to look for options to manage vaginal dryness with moisturizers, lubricants or estrogen," suggests Dr. Dweck.
Is There Anyone Who Should Not Take It?
French maritime pine bark extract is safe for most women to take. But some women should take care. "Women with a history of herpes should use Ristela with caution since the arginine component could increase risk of a recurrent outbreak. Additionally, those on blood thinners should avoid Ristela," says Dr. Dweck.
"It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider first to determine what’s best for you," she adds.