Related Terms

  • Anemophilous pollen, apiary products, Asteraceae, bee bread, bee pollen extract, Boraginaceae, Brassia campestres L., buckwheat pollen, Bursera simaruba, Cecropia peltata, cernilton, cernitin pollen extract, Compositae, Convolvulaceae, dandelion pollen (Compositae), dark blue bee pollen, Echium vulgare (Boraginaceae), Entomophilous pollen, Eragrostis, Eugenia, Eupatorium albicaule, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, floral honey, floral pollen honey, honeybee pollen, Lonchocarpus, maize pollen, mesquite pollen, Metopium brownei, Mimosa bahamensis, Myrtaceae, pine pollen, Poaceae, pollen, pollen d’abeille, pouteria, propolis, pyrrolizidine alkaloid, rape pollen, Sapindaceae, Sapotaceae, songhuuafen, Spanish bee pollen, Thouinia canesceras, Tiliaceae, Trema micrantha, Viguiera dentata.

Background

  • Bee pollen is considered a highly nutritious food because it contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, and essential amino acids. Pollen comes from various plants, including buckwheat, maize, pine (songhaufen), rape, and typha (puhuang). Avoid confusion with bee venom, honey, and royal jelly. Bees use propolis, a resinous substance, to construct their hives while royal jelly is secreted from the salivary glands of bees.
  • The lay public probably uses it more often than is prescribed in clinical practice. Typically, bee pollen is used as a rejuvenator or a tonic. It is also used to enhance athletic stamina and strength and to assist in recovery from illness. Bee pollen is often used as a pollen and spore antidote during allergy season. It may aid in respiratory complaints such as bronchitis, sinus congestion, and common rhinitis. In the support of hormonal disorders, bee pollen is thought to balance the endocrine system with specific benefits in menstrual and prostate disorders. In Chinese medicine, bee pollen is used for building blood, reducing cravings for sweets and alcohol, as a radiation protectant, and a cancer inhibitor. Topically it is used for eczema, skin eruptions, and diaper rash. Available research does not adequately support its use for these indications.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Athletic performance enhancement

    Bee pollen does not appear to enhance athletic performance. However, additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

    Cancer treatment side-effects

    Bee pollen may reduce some adverse effects of cancer treatment. Additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older)

    • Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied. In general, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon has been taken by mouth once per day. The dosage may be gradually increased to 1 to 2 teaspoons one to three times per day.
  • Children (younger than 18 years)

    • Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied. Use in children should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to bee pollen, especially pollen included in commercial preparations. Allergic reactions may include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, gastrointestinal upset, rash, asthma, hay fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and anaphylaxis.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • In general, most of the adverse effects appear to arise from hypersensitivity or allergy to pollen. Symptoms may include gastrointestinal upset, rash, erythema (reddening of the skin), asthma, hay fever, nausea, respiratory reactions, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, hypereosinophilia (increased white blood cell counts in the blood), anorexia, abdominal pain, generalized malaise, headache, itching, and decreased memory. Most symptoms appear to resolve after discontinuing use of bee pollen.
    • There have also been multiple cases of acute hepatitis associated with bee pollen combination products. In these cases it is not known if bee pollen or another herb might have caused the adverse event.
    • Avoid using in patients with blood disorders or liver disease.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Bee pollen is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of available scientific information.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Currently, there is a lack of available scientific evidence describing drug interactions with bee pollen.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Currently, there is a lack of available scientific evidence describing herb and supplement interactions with bee pollen.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

  • Aliyazicioglu Y, Deger O, Ovali E, et al. Effects of Turkish pollen and propolis extracts on respiratory burst for K-562 cell lines. Int Immunopharmacol 2005;5(11):1652-1657.
    View Abstract
  • Boppre M, Colegate SM, Edgar JA. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids of Echium vulgare honey found in pure pollen. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53(3):594-600.
    View Abstract
  • Campos MG, Webby RF, Markham KR, et al. Age-induced diminution of free radical scavenging capacity in bee pollens and the contribution of constituent flavonoids. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51(3):742-745.
    View Abstract
  • Garcia-Villanova RJ, Cordon C, Gonzalez Paramas AM, et al. Simultaneous immunoaffinity column cleanup and HPLC analysis of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in Spanish bee pollen. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52(24):7235-7239.
    View Abstract
  • Gonzalez G, Hinojo MJ, Mateo R, et al. Occurrence of mycotoxin producing fungi in bee pollen. Int J Food Microbiol 2005;105(1):1-9.
    View Abstract
  • Greenberger PA, Flais MJ. Bee pollen-induced anaphylactic reaction in an unknowingly sensitized subject. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2001;86(2):239-242.
    View Abstract
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  • Krivopalov-Moscvin I. Apitherapy in the rehabilitation of patients with multiple sclerosis — XVI World Congress of Neurology. Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 14-19, 1997. Abstracts. J Neurol Sci 1997;150 Suppl:S264-367.
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  • Lei H, Shi Q, Ge F, et al. [Supercritical CO2 extraction of fatty oils from bee pollen and its GC-MS analysis]. Zhong Yao Cai 2004;27(3):177-180.
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  • Medina A, Gonzalez G, Saez JM, et al. Bee pollen, a substrate that stimulates ochratoxin A production by Aspergillus ochraceus Wilh. Syst Appl Microbiol 2004;27(2):261-267.
    View Abstract
  • Ozcan M, Unver A, Ceylan DA, et al. Inhibitory effect of pollen and propolis extracts. Nahrung 2004;48(3):188-194.
    View Abstract
  • Palanisamy A, Haller C, Olson KR. Photosensitivity reaction in a woman using an herbal supplement containing ginseng, goldenseal, and bee pollen. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2003;41(6):865-867.
    View Abstract
  • Paola-Naranjo RD, Sanchez-Sanchez J, Gonzalez-Paramas AM, et al. Liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis of anthocyanin composition of dark blue bee pollen from Echium plantagineum. J Chromatogr A 2004;1054(1-2):205-210.
    View Abstract
  • Wang J, Jin GM, Zheng YM, et al. [Effect of bee pollen on development of immune organ of animal]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2005;30(19):1532-1536.
    View Abstract