Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage


Not Just Honey!

When you think of bees you think of honey, right?  Did you know bees produce a variety of beneficial products other than honey?  Read on for more information on these products.


pollen in comb

Above is a deep frame with enough stored honey to overwinter probably one and a half frames of bees.  Note all the stored pollen that will give brood rearing a “jump start” next year.

pollen 2

Here is a closeup of another frame.  Note the different colors of the pollen.

Bee Pollen


Bee pollen contains about 30% protein, 55% carbohydrates, 1 % to 2% fat, 3% minerals, and trace vitamins. Components vary depending on plant source, geographic region, harvest methods, and season of the year. It may contain up to 100 vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and other substances, but the physiologic benefit of many of these components is unclear. Some bee pollen supplements also contain 3.6% to 5.9% vitamin C.


Bee pollen is available as capsules, chewable tablets, topical creams (in combination with other moisturizers), jelly, liquid (manufactured bee pollen extract, vegetable glycerin, and grain neutral spirits), powder, raw granules, soft gel caps, and tablets. It's available in products such as Health Honey and Super Bee Pollen Complex.

Benefits And Uses of Bee Pollen


Bee pollen is used to enhance athletic performance, minimize fatigue, and improve energy.


It may relieve or cure cerebral hemorrhage', brain damage, body weakness, anemia, enteritis, colitis, constipation, and indigestion. Bee pollen may be beneficial in treating chronic prostatism and relieving symptoms of radiation sickness in those being treated for cervical cancer. It may also be an effective prenatal vitamin, and may aid in weight loss.


Although bee pollen is used to treat allergic disorders, such use isn't recommended because bee pollen commonly causes allergic reactions.



    * Granules: One manufacturer recommends taking 1 teaspoon or more by mouth every day; another recommends starting with 1 granule at lunchtime and increasing by 1 granule with each meal until 1 teaspoon is taken at every meal (may be sprinkled on food or mixed in a drink)

    * Liquid: 10 to 12 gtt of extract may be added to 8 oz of water and taken by mouth two to three times a day .

    * Oral use: 1 to 3 g may be taken by mouth every day .

    * Powder: 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 g) by mouth every day; may be consumed as sold or may be blended or mixed with other foods .

    * Soft gel cap: 1 cap or more may be taken by mouth every day .

    * Tablets: Dosage varies depending on the formulation and manufacturer. Tablets may be swallowed whole or taken dissolved in a mixture with warm water and honey.


Side Effects of Bee Pollen


Those with sensitivity or allergies to pollen should avoid use. Those with allergies to apples, carrots, or celery should use with caution because of the potential for adverse reaction.


No known interactions are reported with bee pollen.

Clinical considerations


    * Overall, bee pollen hasn't been found to have significant nutritional or therapeutic benefit over more easily and safely administered nutritional products.

    * Some bee pollen products also contain bee propolis extract, vitamins, and numerous other ingredients.

    * Doses as low as 1 tablespoon can cause acute anaphylactic reactions. Ask patient how much herb he uses daily.

    * Patients taking bee pollen for longer than 3 weeks may experience chronic allergic symptoms such as hypereosinophilia and neurologic and GI complaints; however, such symptoms are likely to resolve after the patient stops taking the bee pollen.

    * Inform patient that bee pollen should be taken between meals, with a full glass of water.

    * Tell patient to remind prescriber and pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he's taking when obtaining a new prescription.

    * Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.


Research summary


The effects of pure bee pollen on memory have not been investigated, but clinical trials of a Chinese herbal medicine containing bee pollen have been conducted in China and Denmark . The improvements in memory seen in the Chinese study were not significant, and in the more recent double blind placebo-controlled crossover study in Denmark , no improvements were found.¹




Page Last Updated: 10 years ago
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close