What Is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is a natural mixture of flower pollen, nectar, bee secretions, enzymes, honey, and wax. It's used as a nutritional supplement. Natural health practitioners promote it as a superfood due to its nutrient-rich profile that includes tocopherol, niacin, thiamine, biotin, folic acid, polyphenols, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols, enzymes, and co-enzymes.

It's widely available in dietary supplement form used for the following health conditions:

In addition, bee pollen is said to enhance energy, sharpen memory, slow the aging process, promote weight loss, and improve athletic performance.

bee pollen
Verywell / Emily Roberts

Bee Pollen Benefits

To date, scientific support for the health benefits of bee pollen is fairly limited. However, there's some evidence that bee pollen may offer potential benefits for people with certain health conditions. The majority of research is in animal models. Not all studies are robust, randomized control studies, or with significant findings.

Some of the health concerns bee pollen has been studied for include:

  • Allergies
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver health
  • Osteoporosis

Here's a look at several key findings from the available studies.


One of the most common uses for bee pollen is the management of seasonal allergies, such as hay fever. It's thought that ingesting pollens will help the body to build resistance to these potential allergens and, in turn, reduce allergy symptoms.

Although very few studies have tested the use of bee pollen as a remedy for seasonal allergies, some animal-based research indicates that bee pollen may provide anti-allergy effects.

A 2008 mice study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed bee pollen may inhibit activity in mast cells. These cells are involved in releasing histamine in response to allergens and, as a result, triggering the symptoms associated with allergies.

While bee pollen shows promise for treating seasonal allergies, there is a lack of human studies to confirm its use as an allergy treatment.


Bee pollen may help to lower high cholesterol. Two animal studies, one published in the journal Nutrients in 2017 and another published in the journal Molecules in 2018, found bee pollen lowers LDL and total cholesterol levels.

However, human research is needed to confirm these results before bee pollen can be recommended for lowering cholesterol.

Liver Health

Several animal studies show bee pollen hay help protect the liver against damage and may even help repair liver damage from alcoholism and drug use.

A 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found bee pollen promotes healing in liver cells and protects against damage, with fewer side effects than milk thistle.


Bee pollen shows promise in the treatment of osteoporosis, suggests an animal-based study published in 2012.

In tests on rats, the study's authors determined that bee pollen may help boost bone levels of calcium and phosphate and protect against osteoporosis-related bone loss.

Possible Side Effects

Serious allergic reactions to bee pollen have been reported, including potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and severe whole-body reactions.

These reactions occur even with small amounts of bee pollen (i.e., less than one teaspoon).

Most of these case reports involved people with known allergies to pollen. If you have a pollen allergy, it's crucial to take caution and consult your physician prior to consuming bee pollen.


Taking bee pollen with warfarin (Coumadin) might result in an increased chance of bruising or bleeding.

Dosage and Preparation 

Bee pollen is sold as granules. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bee pollen.

Alternative health proponents recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon dose, gradually increasing up to 2 tablespoons a day, and watching for symptoms of an adverse reaction—including itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and severe whole-body reactions. Children should start with just a few granules.

Bee pollen can be sprinkled over cereals, yogurt, or oatmeal, added to homemade granola, or mixed into smoothies.

Bee pollen should be stored in a cool, dark place, like a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, and kept out of direct sunlight.

It's important to note that supplements are not FDA regulated but some companies have 3rd party verifications on their packaging.

What to Look For 

Widely available for purchase online, supplements containing bee pollen are sold in many natural-food stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Look for products that are all-natural with no additives and that have not been heated or dried, which can destroy its enzymes.

A Word From Verywell

If you're considering the use of bee pollen for a health condition, make sure to consult your physician first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much bee pollen should you eat daily?

    There isn't a recommended dosage, but it's a good idea to start with a small amount to make sure you aren't allergic to it. You might start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase gradually to 2 tablespoons a day.

  • What does bee pollen taste like?

    While individual tastes vary, bee pollen has a generally sweet and flowery taste, but can be slightly bitter. Its texture is powdery.

  • Can you use bee pollen if you're allergic to bees?

    No. If you have a bee allergy, you shouldn't eat bee pollen, as it may cause serious side effects, including anaphylaxis.

  • 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.

7 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. Ishikawa Y, Tokura T, Nakano N, et al. Inhibitory effect of honeybee-collected pollen on mast cell degranulation in vivo and in vitroJ Med Food. 2008;11(1):14-20. doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.163

  2. Rzepecka-Stojko A, Stojko J, Jasik K, Buszman E. Anti-Atherogenic Activity of Polyphenol-Rich Extract from Bee PollenNutrients. 2017;9(12). pii: E1369. doi:10.3390/nu9121369

  3. Rzepecka-Stojko A, Kabała-Dzik A, Kubina R, et al. Protective Effect of Polyphenol-Rich Extract from Bee Pollen in a High-Fat DietMolecules. 2018;23(4). pii: E805. doi:10.3390/molecules23040805

  4. Yıldız O, Can Z, Saral O, et al. Hepatoprotective potential of chestnut bee pollen on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damages in ratsEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:461478. doi:10.1155/2013/461478

  5. Kafadar IH, Güney A, Türk CY, et al. Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen Decrease Bone Loss Due to Osteoporosis in an Oophorectomized Rat ModelEklem Hastalik Cerrahisi. 2012;23(2):100-5

  6. NIH: U.S. National Library of Medicine—MedlinePlus. Bee Pollen. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/78.html

  7. 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

Additional Reading

By 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.