Pollen, the male seed of a plant, is the primary source of dietary protein for bees. Bees collect pollen to make Beebread by mixing it with honey or with nectar and adding enzymes that prevent the Pollen from germinating. Further, they also consume it, which allows them to secrete Royal Jelly and Wax. It has become a popular energy-enhancing nutritional supplement because it is about 25% protein and contains all the essential amino acids and vitamins and minerals needed by humans, except Vitamin B12. However, it does not contain the correct proportion of nutrients needed to sustain humans for an extended period of time; so it is the “perfect food” for bees, not for humans. Pollen is a good source of enzymes and also has the highest anti-oxidant activity, as measured by the ORAC index, of any fruit or vegetable. Because of its nutrient density, one to two teaspoons of pollen is equivalent to a serving of vegetables. Therefore, supplementing your diet with bee pollen is a great way to significantly improve your nutrient intake.
There is a rapidly increasing body of scientific evidence which shows that pollen has a variety of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-arthritic properties. Its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties, as well as its immune system normalizing phytochemicals, allows bee pollen to be used therapeutically to decrease symptoms in people who have hay fever and pollen sensitivities. This is done through oral administration and is analogous to the way allergists treat people with desensitization injections. The therapy consists of giving a patient tiny amounts of a substance that a person is allergic to, and slowly increasing the amount over time.
Pollen has been reported to be useful in many other medical conditions including: varicose veins, high cholesterol and triglycerides, fatigue, infertility, impotence, anorexia, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, hypertension, prostatitis, depression, scar formation, and recovery from illness and surgery. Pollen is compatible with other therapies, it can be used long term, has no toxicity even at high doses for those who are not sensitive or allergic, and is safe to take as a supplement during pregnancy.
(from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)