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Bee Pollen

What is it?

Bee pollen refers to the flower pollen that collects on the legs and bodies of worker bees. It can also include some nectar and bee saliva. Pollens come from many plants, so the contents of bee pollen can vary significantly. Don’t confuse bee pollen with bee venom, honey, or royal jelly.

People commonly take bee pollen for nutrition. It is also used by mouth as an appetite stimulant, to improve stamina and athletic performance, and for premature aging, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for BEE POLLEN are as follows:

Possibly ineffective for...

  • Athletic performance. Research suggests that taking bee pollen supplements by mouth does not seem to increase athletic performance in athletes.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Breast cancer-related hot flashes. Early research suggests that taking bee pollen along with honey does not relieve breast cancer-related hot flashes or other menopausal-like symptoms in breast cancer patients compared to taking honey alone.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Early research suggests that a specific combination product seems to decrease some symptoms of PMS including irritability, weight gain, and bloating when given over a period of 2 menstrual cycles. This product contains 6 mg of royal jelly, 36 mg of bee pollen extract, bee pollen, and 120 mg of pistil extract per tablet. It is given as 2 tablets twice daily.
  • Appetite stimulation.
  • Premature aging.
  • Hay fever.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Joint pain.
  • Painful urination.
  • Prostate conditions.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Colitis.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate bee pollen for these uses.

How does it work?

Bee pollen might help stimulate the immune system when taken by mouth or promote wound healing when applied to the skin. However, it’s not clear how bee pollen causes these effects. Some people say that the enzymes in bee pollen act like medicines. However, these enzymes are broken down in the stomach, so it is unlikely that taking bee pollen enzymes by mouth causes these effects.

Are there safety concerns?

Bee pollen is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for up to 30 days. There is also some evidence that taking two tablets twice daily of a specific combination product that contains 6 mg of royal jelly, 36 mg of bee pollen extract, bee pollen, and 120 mg of pistil extract per tablet for up to 2 months may be safe.

The biggest safety concerns are allergic reactions. Bee pollen can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to pollen.

There have also been rare reports of other serious side effects such as liver and kidney damage or photosensitivity. But it is not known if bee pollen or some other factor was truly responsible for these effects. Also, a single case of dizziness has been reported for a person who took bee pollen extract, royal jelly, and bee pollen plus pistil extract.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking bee pollen is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some concern that bee pollen might stimulate the uterus and threaten the pregnancy. Don’t use it. It’s also best to avoid using bee pollen during breast-feeding. Not enough is known about how bee pollen might affect the infant.

Pollen allergy: Taking bee pollen supplements can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to pollen. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and severe whole-body reactions (anaphylaxis).

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Warfarin (Coumadin)
Bee pollen might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking bee pollen with warfarin (Coumadin) might result in an increased chance of bruising or bleeding.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of bee pollen depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bee pollen. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Bee Pollen Extract, Buckwheat Pollen, Extrait de Pollen d’Abeille, Honeybee Pollen, Honey Bee Pollen, Maize Pollen, Pine Pollen, Polen de Abeja, Pollen, Pollen d'Abeille, Pollen d’Abeille de Miel, Pollen de Sarrasin.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

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Last reviewed - 05/23/2018