For millennia, humans have sought and cultivated plants as a source of food. In the course of human evolution, it became apparent that many plants also produced substances that prevented or cured disease. Knowledge regarding the curative powers of plants or plant extracts became enshrined in what is now known as “traditional medicine,” even though the way these substances worked was not known. Today it is common knowledge that plant-derived products, such as vitamin C (derived from a variety of fruits and vegetables), aspirin (derived from the bark of the Willow tree - Salix sp.), and taxol (a potent anti-cancer drug derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree - Taxus brevifolia) are important tools of modern medicine. More recently, it has become highly publicized that plants like the one producing green tea (Camellia sinensis) are great sources of beneficial antioxidants.
In traditional Japanese medicine, tea made from pine cones was frequently prescribed to ward off common illnesses. For the past two decades, the mission of the TBRI has been to identify its active ingredient, determine its mechanism of action and apply its curative powers for human use. Current studies indicate that a highly enriched fraction of the pine cone extract acts to bolster the immune system, and significant progress is being made in understanding its mode of action.
Our detailed scientific analysis of the pine cone extract (PPC) has resulted in the award of fourteen patents to TBRI’s scientists, with several other patents pending. In light of these efforts, Allera Health Products, Inc. signed a proprietary licensing agreement with TBRI in September 2006. This company introduced a new dietary supplement to the market in October 2006, which is derived from PPC and has been termed ImmuneExtraTM (www.ImmuneExtra.com).