Many already know and praise the medicinal benefits of honey – good of our skin, good for our diets, good for our allergies. Indeed a timeless remedy, honey is taking a back seat to bee pollen.
Bee pollen, the modified form of pollen gathered from various plants, has been harvested and used for hundreds of years in cultures around the world. In fact, the first written accounts of using bee pollen for medical purposes were documented by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.
Bee pollen is considered one of the most nutrient-dense naturally occurring foods. It contains 55 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein, 3 percent minerals, 2 percent fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as beta carotene, lecithin, rutin, and selenium.
What are the benefits?
- Allergy relief. People who suffer from seasonal pollen allergies may benefit from taking bee pollen orally. Because of its altered state, bee pollen is considered less reactive, though the risk for an anaphylactic response might be possible. It is recommended to start with less than a quarter of teaspoon and increase the dose slowly. The theory behind the supplement suggests that exposing the body to modified allergens will eventually build up immunity. Seeking professional medical advice prior to using bee pollen for allergy relief is recommended.
- Strengthen your capillaries. Bee pollen is high in rutin, a plant-derived substance that strengthens blood vessels. Researchers at the Russian Institute of Apiculture, quoted by Nutritional Supplement Truths, say that,
“Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. … Plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”
Weight loss. Because of an interaction of bee pollen with the hypothalamus, the granules are often used as a weight loss aid. The pollen creates a sensation of satiety, naturally suppressing the appetite. In addition to feeling full, the pollen contains lecithin, which helps balance metabolism.
- Boost your sexual health. Bee pollen isn’t an aphrodisiac. What it does for sexual health is assist men with prostate pain, a complication which significantly reduces their sexual pleasure. By aiding in the removal of inflammatory free-radicals, bee pollen decreases the discomfort afflicted men have after sex.
- Antibiotic therapy. Both bee pollen and another bee product, royal jelly, have demonstrated antibiotic properties, though research has shown them to be ineffective on their own. When used, physicians often recommend taking the supplement in addition to synthetic medications.
- Relief from menopausal symptoms. The abundance of nutrients in bee pollen helps the body regulate hormones. Though no real scientific studies have proven this medical benefit, bee pollen has been lumped in the same hormone-altering category as herbal supplements vitex, evening primrose oil, and black cohosh.
What are the risks?
Allergic reaction. People with pollen allergies need to be wary of using bee pollen and other bee products. Even though in many cases there is no reaction at all, it is important to consult with your physician or alternative doctor and always start with minimum doses.
- Nausea. As with any food item, gastrointestinal upset is always a possibility.
- Contamination. Don’t forget: Bees get their pollen from plants, and mankind has a habit of loading plants down with pesticides. There is always a risk the pollen granules you purchase have trace amounts of chemical contaminates. Make sure you confirm the source of your bee pollen.
Bee pollen is an all-natural supplement, and as such, appeals to people looking for a natural way to combat health problems. Though the nutritional benefits of bee pollen are proven and undisputed, there are no conclusive scientific studies supporting a direct link between pollen and disease prevention.
Before you purchase a bottle of this cure-all, speak with your family physician for a professional opinion.