encyclopedia

Bee Pollen

Scientific Names:    

Not Applicable    
     

Forms:    

Bee Pollen, dried and powdered; bee pollen pellets    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Athletic Performance Enhancement
– Anti-allergy
– Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (rye grass pollen)
– Blood Purifier
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Climacteric Symptoms
– Detoxifying
– Fatigue
– Headache (hormonally caused)
– Hot Flashes
– Menopausal Symptoms
– Nutritive
– Stress
– Urinary Incontinence     
     
     
Overview:    

Bee pollen consists of a mixture of natural flower pollens mixed with bee bread – pollen that has been mixed with flower nectar and bee secretions then left to ferment in the hive. The result is a nutrient-rich pollen mixture that has been softened by natural processes making the nutrients up to seven times easier to assimilate. Bee pollen is collected by beekeepers with the use of a screen over hive openings designed specifically to let the bees pass while squeezing pollen from their hind legs and pollen sacs. Bee pollen is rich in essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and also contains many vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The main active ingredients are primarily phytoestrogens including isoflavones and lignans, otherwise known as plant hormones, compounds with well-documented hormonal benefits for both men and women. A placebo-controlled randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of a bee pollen product called melbrosia [containing 257mg bee pollen, 150mg bee bread, 33mg royal jelly and 20mg vitamin C from acerola] in women suffering from severe menopausal symptoms showed a significant decrease of menopausal symptoms including headache, urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness and decreasing vitality. The effect of melbrosia on bone density and osteoporosis during the climacteric period of menopause in peri-menopausal women was also studied by Dr. Werner Salomon, a gynecologist in Hamburg, Germany, in an observational study in his practice over a three-year period from 1989-1993. After the period of observation, Dr. Salomon found that administration of melbrosia to peri-menopausal women not only blocked the beginnings of osteoporosis but also produced a significant increase in bone density. Bee pollen is also recommended for improving sports performance, relieving allergies, and is used in a number of Chinese herbal medicines. Interestingly, research on rye grass pollen has shown efficacy for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia in men.    
     
     
Active Ingredients:    

Bee Pollen contains: Amino acids; carbohydrates; oligopeptides; enzymes; phytosterols; protein; lignans (dibenzyl butanes), isoflavones; flavonoids; minerals and vitamins. The Linus Pauling Institute of Alimentary Research in California showed that there are considerably higher levels of essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements in fermented bee pollen than in regular pollen. Bee bread is also very rich in flavonoids and phytoestrogens, and contains more essential amino acids than meat, eggs or cheese.    
   
     
Suggested Amount:    

The daily dose of bee pollen is 400-500mg taken one to three times daily (quality bee pollen products contain a ratio of approximately 250mg pollen to 150mg bee bread). Athletes are reported to consume anywhere from between 1 to 5 grams of bee pollen daily. The dosage of Melbrosia in the clinical trial for women suffering from menopausal symptoms was one capsule taken three times daily for the initial 10-day period, followed by one capsule taken twice daily for the second 10-day period and the maintenance dose given until the end of the therapy was 1 capsule daily. Melbrosia for men, made from naturally fermented bee pollen, is also available and is recommended for those who want to increase their vitality depleted by daily stress. For optimum effectiveness, a 30-day course of melbrosia is recommended several times per year.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known    
   
     
Contraindications:    

Bee pollen products are contraindicated in persons having allergies to pollen. Persons with known pollen allergies wanting to use bee pollen products to desensitize their systems using what is called “specific immunotherapy of allergic diseases” should not do so unless under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Recent research on this therapy has shown efficacy in some cases while not in others. Specific immunotherapy comprises a special form of allergy treatment, which consists of stepwise increasing doses of the allergen, given subcutaneously or orally with the aim to reprogram the specific immunity (from allergy to tolerance). This requires some experience and an exact allergological workup, since the main mistake in the treatment of this specific immunotherapy is the selection of unsuitable patients. The effectivity of specific immunotherapy is well documented for bee and wasp venom allergy, pollinosis and more and more also for asthma bronchiale.    
     
        
Side Effects:    

Bee pollen may cause allergic reactions in susceptible persons. Several cases of serious allergic reactions to bee pollen have been reported in the medical literature, including anaphylaxis. The anaphylactic reactions occurred within 20 to 30 minutes of ingesting bee pollen, in one case less than a teaspoon was consumed. The majority of case involved people with known allergies to pollen.    
   
     
References:     
     
Kristoffersen K, Thomsen BW, Schacke E, Wagner HH. 1997. [Use of natural medicines in women referred to specialists]. Ugeskr Laeger. 1997 Jan 13; 159(3): 294-6. Danish.
 
Einer-Jensen N, Zhao J, Andersen KP, Kristoffersen K. 1996. Cimicifuga and Melbrosia lack oestrogenic effects in mice and rats.  Maturitas. 1996 Oct; 25(2): 149-53.
 
Pichler WJ. 2001. Specific and nonspecific (anti-IgE) immunotherapy of allergic diseases. Ther Umsch 2001 May; 58(5): 329-36. [Article in German].
 
Szanto E, Gruber D, Sator M, Knogler W, Huber JC. 1994. [Placebo-controlled study of melbrosia in treatment of climacteric symptoms]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1994; 144(7): 130-3. German.
 
Wilt TJ, Ishani A, Rutks I, MacDonald R. 2000. Phytotherapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Public Health Nutr. 2000 Dec; 3(4A): 459-72.