What Is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar (a sweet watery plant substance), and bee saliva (spit) packed into the hive. Bee pollen has roughly 250 substances, which are thought to work together.

This article discusses what you should know about bee pollen—its potential uses, side effects, and interactions.

Dietary supplements are not regulated the way drugs are in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF.

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, it doesn't mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, you must talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and check in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredients (s): Bee pollen, roughly 250 substances
  • Alternative name(s): Bee pollen, bee pollen extract, buckwheat pollen, extrait de pollen d'Abeille, honeybee pollen, maize pollen, pine pollen, polen de abeja, pollen, pollen d'Abeille, pollen d'Abeille de Miel, pollen de sarrasin
  • Legal status: Legal in most U.S. states
  • Suggested dose: May vary based on the dosage form and medical condition
  • Safety considerations: Likely safe for up to 30 days; severe allergic reaction is possible; avoid use in pregnancy; limited data on safety in breastfeeding; talk with your child's healthcare provider (such as a pediatrician) before use; may interact with some medications
bee pollen
Verywell / Emily Roberts

Uses of Bee Pollen

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian (RD), pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

People may use bee pollen for various reasons, such as to improve athletic performance. While bee pollen doesn't appear to help with this, there are a few studies evaluating bee pollen for other potential uses.


A few studies suggested bee pollen may lower cholesterol levels. However, further well-designed clinical trials are needed.


A small study assessed bee pollen combined with another bee product called propolis (bee glue). This combination might lower blood glucose (sugar) levels. It's tough to understand bee pollen's effects alone. Larger and well-designed clinical trials are still needed.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious and long-term medical condition. While its cause is unknown, some symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Excessive tiredness that doesn't go away after rest
  • Memory and concentration (focusing) problems
  • Pain
  • Sleeping problems

A small study suggested older adults with CFS might benefit from bee pollen. But in this small study, bee pollen was part of a mixture of traditional Chinese medicine, so it's difficult to determine its effects alone. For this reason, larger and better-designed clinical trials are still necessary to assess bee pollen's effectiveness for CFS better.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

In a review, a couple of small 12-week studies looked at bee pollen in people with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is an enlarged prostate that affects many older people assigned male at birth.

As previously mentioned, these clinical trials were small. What's more, a different version of bee pollen extract was used in each study. And the dosing was also different. To better evaluate bee pollen for use in BPH, there is a need for larger and better-designed clinical trials.

Menopausal Symptoms

In one review, a small study assessed bee pollen and honey for menopausal symptoms—like hot flashes—in which study participants were people on antihormonal therapy for breast cancer. Results of the study suggest that these individuals found some relief from menopausal symptoms with bee pollen and honey.

An ongoing clinical trial in 2022 and 2023 is evaluating PCC-100, a pollen extract that doesn't have estrogen. Study participants include people taking endocrine (hormone) therapy for breast cancer. There are also participants with menopause—but no breast cancer—in the study, which is designed to be complete by the end of 2023.

What Are the Side Effects of Bee Pollen?

As with many medications and natural products, side effects are possible with bee pollen,

Common Side Effects

In general, bee pollen is well-tolerated. But common side effects may include an upset stomach and a tingling or numbing sensation.

Severe Side Effects

A severe allergic reaction is a serious side effect possible with any medication. If you're having a severe allergic reaction to bee pollen, your symptoms may include breathing difficulties, itchiness, and rash. This severe side effect might be more likely if you have an allergy to pollen or a severe allergy to bee stings.

Bee pollen may also contain some contaminants, like pesticides. And bee pollen from certain plants may result in liver problems. If you're having liver problems, your symptoms may include dark-colored urine and yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice).

Call 911 and get medical help immediately if you're having a severe allergic reaction or if any of your symptoms feel life-threatening.


Your healthcare provider may advise against using bee pollen if any of the following applies to you:

  • Severe allergic reaction: If you have had a severe allergic reaction to bee pollen or its components (ingredients), you shouldn't take this medication. You should also avoid bee pollen if you have an allergy to pollen or a severe allergy to bee stings.
  • Pregnancy: Bee pollen shouldn't be used during pregnancy. Reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks of bee pollen while pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding: There is limited data on bee pollen's safety while nursing. For this reason, it's not typically recommended to breastfeeding parents. Discuss with your healthcare provider the benefits and harms of bee pollen while nursing.
  • Children: Many bee pollen product labels are aimed at adults, not children. If you are considering bee pollen for your child, have a conversation with your child's pediatrician or other healthcare provider first.
  • Adults over age 65: Older adults have participated in some bee pollen–related clinical trials, such as for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), enlarged prostate, and menopausal symptoms, but many of these studies were small. In general, older adults tend to be more sensitive to side effects from medications than younger people. For this reason, take bee pollen with caution.
  • Liver problems: Liver problems might be possible with bee pollen. For this reason, your healthcare provider may recommend against bee pollen if you have a liver condition.

Dosage: How Much Bee Pollen Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

While there are some small studies on bee pollen in humans, larger and better-designed clinical trials are still necessary. For this reason, there are no guidelines on the appropriate dosage to take bee pollen for any condition.

Follow your healthcare provider's recommendations or label instructions if you choose to take bee pollen.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Bee Pollen?

There is little information about bee pollen toxicity and overdoses in humans. But taking too much bee pollen may result in liver problems. This is a possible side effect of bee pollen from certain plants.

If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, get medical help immediately.


Use caution when taking bee pollen with Jantoven (warfarin). Since bee pollen may increase warfarin's effects, serious bleeding or bruising side effects are possible.

It is essential to carefully read a supplement's ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to know which ingredients are in the product and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications. 

How to Store Bee Pollen

Since storage instructions may vary for different natural products, carefully read the directions and packaging label on the container. But, in general, keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet. Try to store your medicines at room temperature in a cool and dry place—away from light.

Discard after one year or as indicated on the packaging. Avoid putting unused and expired drugs down the drain or in the toilet. Visit the FDA's website to know where and how to discard all unused and expired medications. You can also find disposal boxes in your area.

Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider any questions you have about the best ways to dispose of your medications or supplements.

Similar Supplements

Bee pollen is a bee product. Other, similar products include:

  • Bee venom
  • Beeswax
  • Honey
  • Propolis (a resin-like mixture that bees use to seal up cracks in the hive)
  • Royal Jelly (made by worker bees to feed the larva and queen)

Humans have used these bee products since ancient times. And while there are studies on these bee products and how they might work, many aren't well-reported. What's more, these bee products have a lot of chemical variability. And this variability is based on the following factors:

  • The specific honeybees that make the bee products
  • The specific plants that the honeybees used to make the bee products

In general, these bee products need to be standardized. More extensive and well-designed studies can better assess the standardized versions for safety and potential uses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most common dosage form for bee pollen?

    Bee pollen is available in several different dosage forms—with capsules potentially being the most common.

  • Is bee pollen available from manufacturers in the United States?

    Yes. There are bee pollen products made by manufacturers in the United States.

  • Does bee pollen have any nutritional benefit?

    Yes. In general, bee pollen has several nutrients.

  • How is bee pollen harvested?

    Beekeepers collect pollen by using pollen traps on the hives. Bees returning to the hive walk through a metal or plastic mesh. Some of the pollen on their legs is scraped off as they come through, and it falls into a collection tray.

  • How do I take bee pollen safely?

    To take natural products—like bee pollen—safely and to prevent possible drug interactions and side effects, inform your healthcare providers and pharmacists of all medications you take. This includes over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, natural medications, and supplements.
    Your provider can also ensure that you’re giving bee pollen a good trial at appropriate doses.

Sources of Bee Pollen & What to Look For

There are several different sources of bee pollen.

Food Sources of Bee Pollen

In general, pollen has been known as food for centuries. Now, there are several pollen-based foods available. For example, you may find pollen in the following:

  • Baked goods
  • Cheese
  • Drinks
  • Meat products
  • Yogurt

In general, dietary changes may interact with your medications or affect your medical conditions. For this reason, talk with your healthcare provider first. They will help you safely make any dietary changes.

Bee Pollen Supplements

Bee pollen is available in several forms, including capsules and tablets. If you have difficulties swallowing pills, bee pollen might also be available in the following dosage forms:

  • Granola bars
  • Granules
  • Liquid
  • Powder

There are also vegetarian options. The specific product you choose will depend on your preference and what you hope to get in terms of effects. Each product may work a bit differently, depending on the form. So, following your healthcare provider's recommendations or label directions is essential.


Bee pollen is a bee product. It's a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, and bee saliva packed into the hive. You may find this product in pollen-based foods, such as baked goods and meat products.

Bee pollen is unlikely to improve athletic performance. It's also been studied for the following:

  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Enlarged prostate

However, there's a need for more research, especially in humans, including well-designed, large clinical trials. There's not enough high-quality evidence to support bee pollen for any medical condition yet.

In general, bee pollen is typically well-tolerated. But it's not without side effects. There are also medication interactions to consider. Before taking bee pollen, reach out to your pharmacist or healthcare provider to help you safely achieve your health goals.

16 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Bee pollen.

  2. Komosinska-Vassev K, Olczyk P, Kazmierczak J, et al. Bee pollen: chemical composition and therapeutic application. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015:297425. doi: 10.1155%2F2015%2F297425

  3. Alsharif SM, Xu B, Shehata AA, et al. Bee Pollen: Clinical trials and patent applications. Nutrients. 2022;14(14):2858. doi: 10.3390/nu14142858

  4. MedlinePlus. Chronic fatigue syndrome.

  5. Iversen T, Fiirgaard KM, Schriver P, et al. The effect of NaO Li Su on memory functions and blood chemistry in elderly people. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1997;56(2):109-116. doi: 10.1016/S0378-8741(97)01513-4

  6. ScienceDirect. Neurasthenia.

  7. Munstedt K, Voss B, Kullmer U, et al. Bee pollen and honey for the alleviation of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients. Molecular and Clinical Oncology. 2015;3(4):869-874. doi: 10.3892/mco.2015.559

  8. ClinicalTrials.gov. Effect of non-estrogenic pollen extract PCC-100 on hot flushes.

  9. Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Bee pollen.

  10. PeaceHealth. Bee pollen.

  11. Cornara L, Biagi M, Xiao J, et al. Therapeutic properties of bioactive compounds from different honeybee products. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8(412):1-20. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00412

  12. National Institute of DIabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. LiverTox: Acute liver failure.

  13. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement label database.

  14. Hoover S, Ovinge L. Pollen collection, honey production, and pollination services: Managing honey bees in an agricultural settingJ Econ Entomol. 2018;111(4):1509-1516. doi:10.1093/jee/toy125

  15. MedlinePlus. A guide to herbal remedies.

  16. Kostic AZ, MIlincic DD, Barac MB, et al. The application of pollen as a functional food and feed ingredient—The present and perspectives. Biomolecules. 2020;10(1):84. doi: 10.3390%2Fbiom10010084

Additional Reading

By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.

Originally written by Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process