BEE POLLEN - a natural nutritional supplement

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The humble bee collects pollen from countless varieties of plant blossoms and it is logical to assume that pollen probably contains many substances of medicinal value that modern medicine has yet to discover.

POLLEN
Pollen is a powder consisting of tiny grains (smallest 0.006 mm) from the stamens of flowers, which forms the male part of the process of plant fertilization.
Each pollen grain has a hard case which protects the male sperm cells inside. Each  grain contains from one hundred thousand to five million pollen spores




A magnified view of Pollen from: castor bean, hollyhock, lily, morning glory, primrose and sunflower.

COLLECTION

Pollen is collected from flowers by bees. The pollen taken may also contain some nectar from the flower.
One single bee will visit between 50-1000 flowers a day, sometimes more depending on closeness to the hive. The bee’s legs have bristles on the outside; she uses her legs to comb pollen into her pollen baskets.
Their pollen baskets are concave areas surrounded by a fringe of long hairs forming a cup shape on the outside of their legs. They moistening the pollen with their own digestive enzymes, including stored honey, then pack it into their baskets. Using the side of her head she tamps down the pollen into her baskets to form a large granule.

If you examine a bee closely you may see two usually yellow coloured balls of pollen on the bees legs. This depends on what the bee is collecting, pollen or nectar. The colour of the pollen depends on the colour of the flower stamen.


Bee with Pollen on legs

POLLEN FROM THE HIVE

The pollen extracted from bees at the hive entrance using a pollen trap. To enter the main part of the hive, bees have to crawl through small gaps in a wire mesh. This mesh scrapes off the pollen granules from the bees legs which then falls onto a removable tray at the bottom of the hive. About 50% of the pollen collected by bees is trapped here.


Pollen Trap - placed at the base of the hive

The pollen is collected on a daily basis depending on the humidity, cleaned of debris and is then frozen or dried to about 10% moisture content. Good quality pollen will be dried slowly to retain the essential ingredients.  Beekeepers have to carefully manage the collection of pollen, collect too much and the bees can be deprived of essential food, weakening the hive.  Management of pollen collection from particular types of plant is difficult, bees can harvest pollen from anywhere and it requires experienced beekeepers to produce quality fresh pollen from individual plant species. 

Bees eat pollen for its protein content.

Stored pollen in the hive. Pollen is in the yellow cells.

BEE BREAD.
Bees store some of the pollen collected in cells in the hive for use during times when there is no pollen available. The pollen is preserved in the cell by covering it with beeswax.. This pollen is called Bee Bread.
Bee bread, has a higher nutritional value but is very difficult to harvest. It is a highly fermented product that is rich in B group vitamins and vitamin K (necessary for blood clotting).


Typical dried  pollen

POLLEN TYPES

Bee pollens have different compositions depending on the location of bee hives. Bee keepers continually move their bees to follow the flowering cycles of  plant species. Pollen from particular plant species can have different therapeutic effects, reflecting the particular therapeutic quality of the plant itself.. Most Australian bee pollens come from Western Australia and are usually dried and sometimes irradiated. Queensland flora is naturally deficient in pollen.  Bee keepers there use pollen from Western Australia as a food supplement for their bee hives during periods when there are no local flowering plants available. This pollen has to be treated by irradiation in N S W to prevent the possible spread of disease into their bee hives. Non irradiated Australian bee pollen is commercially available.

Irradiated pollen is considered to be inferior in its medicinal properties.


Good quality fresh frozen non-irradiated pollen from Percie du Sert

The cheapest bee pollens offered for sale in Australia may have originally come from China or Spain and could be of inferior quality.

Some pollen producers use heat as a cheap alternative to dehydrate their pollen.
This will reduce the effectiveness of the pollen's nutrients and enzymes.

Most sellers know where their pollen comes from and we advise that you check the origins and the age of any pollen before you purchase.

We consider that Percie du Sert pollen from France is the highest quality and most effective pollen available, the next best being a good quality fresh Australian  non-irradiated pollen. 

Percie du Sert pollen is as near as possible to fresh pollen. Its large,soft, colourfull granules are much superior to the smaller, hard granules of dried pollen, and  healing qualities are much stronger.

Pollen can be stored frozen to maintain its level of quality. Pollen has a low percentage of water content and can be frozen without affecting its structure and quality. For consumption, a small quantity can be kept in the normal part of you refrigerator.

Dried pollen should be stored away from light.

Do not heat pollen. Heat will reduce the nutrient component and destroy live enzymes.

It is preferential to take bee pollen in its unprocessed form, as any commercial pulverizing process of pollen for use in tablet form is usually accompanied by a certain amount of adulteration

Pollen capsules should be stored away from light and in a cool place.

Europe has a well established pollen industry using specialist machinery for processing of pollen. Bee products are well known in Europe as an nutritional supplement and alternative healing treatment. These products are readily available in specialist retail shops.

PROPERTIES OF BEE POLLEN (in fresh frozen state as dried, it looses some of its properties):

Pollen properties vary greatly according to the species of flower they came from.

However, there are general properties relevant to ALL types of pollen.

Pollen is considered by some as a Super Food containing the entire range of nutrients required for human beings.
1. Bee pollen can contain up to 22% protein.
2. Large vitamin B complex for the balance of the central nervous system.
3. It can be considered to be a Probiotic food. It supplies beneficial bacterium to the intestinal tract, which causes an excellent regenerative and cleansing effect on the guts.
4. It contains plenty of fiber to facilitate digestion.
5. Can increase vitality and energy, good ratio of carbohydrates.
6. Rich in minerals included Iron, which helps the restoration of red blood cells and good oxygenation, plus magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper.
7. Because of its sexual nature (containing hormones), it has an effect on the human reproductive system.
8. One of the richest food in anti-oxidant, it contains many flavonoids. Flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. They also help to maintain the health of small blood vessels and connective tissue.
9. Antibiotic properties.
10. Anti-inflammatory.
11. Tonic that improves nutritional levels: speeds the healing process, allows better recovery.
12. Contains rutin, a supplement that is used to treat poor blood circulation and reduce varicose veins.

10 to 15 percent of bee pollen contains natural sugars, including fructose, glucose and sucrose. These natural sugars are often partly pre-digested because of the enzymatic action of the bee's salivary glands. This allows the natural sugars to be assimilated more easily.
 
Pollen may also contain up to 44 percent of carbohydrates
 
Bee pollen contains water-soluble, heat-coagulating proteins, consisting of albumin, globuline, guanine, hypoxanthine, lecithin, nusleine, peptone, vernine and xanthine.
 35 grams of pollen taken each day will supply all the body's protein requirements; with 25 grams will supply enough essential amino acids.
 Bee pollen contains certain enzymes which include amylase, catalase, cozymase, cytochrome, dehydrogenase, diaphorase, diastase, lactic acids, pectase and phosphatase.
 These are the essential biological catalysts for the digestive process.

RESEARCH
Because of the variation in the composition of different bee pollens, it is hard to standardize pollen for medical research and evaluation. The pharmaceutical industry has shown little interest in development of a product that cannot be mechanically produced or patented. The result being that there is little clinical data in support of the claims made for bee pollen. Most doctors have little awareness of the use of bee pollen for health.

Most of the research results available on Bee Pollen has been carried out in Europe on European collected bee pollens.

Recent clinical trials have shown that Bee pollen contains antibacterial compounds that may.
1.  Reduce the activity of various bacteria.
2.  Boost antioxidant levels and increase blood supply to the brain.
3. Improve the nutritional level of a pregnant female.
4.  Have a protective effect as pathogenic bacteria cannot multiply.

Schmidt and Buchmann (1992) compared the average protein, fat, mineral and vitamin content of pollen with other basic foods. Pollen was richer in most ingredients when compared on a weight or calorie content basis than such foods as beef, fried chicken, baked beans, whole wheat bread, apple, raw cabbage and tomatoes. While comparable in protein and mineral content with beef and beans, Pollen averages more than ten times the thiamin and riboflavin or several times the niacin content.


USES FOR POLLEN

Bee Pollen is sold as a food additive for horses, dogs, cats and birds to improve their condition for competition. Bird breeders find that pollen will improve the colour of the feathers and is given to show birds as a supplement, starting a month prior to showing.

Bee Pollen is held in good regard as a energy boost for athletes and is used as part of various sport nutritional supplements.

Kiambasa has  found that the regular consumption of pollen could have the effect of reducing the severity of varicose vein symptoms and also may eliminate the scalp skin condition called scalp plaque psoriasis.

Bee products are more effective when used in conjunction with other bee products. We recommend that when taking pollen, the addition of a fresh local unprocessed honey as a supplement in your diet will improve the benefits of regular pollen consumption.

Pollen is usually consumed in such small quantities that the daily requirements of vitamins, proteins and minerals cannot be taken up through the consumption of pollen alone. However, it can be a substantial source of essential nutrients where dietary uptake is chronically insufficient.

If the nutritional benefit of pollen in small dosages is accepted, as described in many non-scientific publications, it must be understood as a synergistic effect. That is, a wide variety of beneficial substances interact to improve absorption or use of the nutrients made available to the body from regular nutrition. Pollen nutrients may also balance some deficiencies from otherwise incomplete or unbalanced supplies, absorption or usage.

Pollen is not a medicine but rather a food that improves our nutritional levels and reduces our vulnerability to certain diseases.

Pollen and Allergies.
Allergy to pollen is called hay fever, generally due to pollen dispersed by air currents.
There are two types of pollen, from anemophilous plants (pollen is dispersed by air currents) or from entomophilous plants (its pollen is dispersed by animals).
Anemophilous pollen from plants with mostly inconspicuous flowers is light, airborne and moved by the wind. Entomophilous pollen is heavy, sticky and moved by insects including bees.

Consumption.  We advise you to first, take a test by placing few granules on your tongue, wait and increase the dose slowly to check for any allergic reaction (very rare), Anyone who is allergic will experience a swelling sensation in the mouth when the pollen pellets sit on the tongue for a few minutes.

Dosage depends upon the quality of the pollen. A good quality pollen only needs to be taken in small  amounts, about 10gram or one dessertspoon full daily

Caution: May not be suitable for those suffering allergies – please check with your Medical Adviser as pollens/allergies can prove fatal.

There is little research in Australia on the health benefits of different types of Australian pollen.

Western Australia is the major producer of honey bee pollen,and its qualities have been researched by the Western Australian Dept of Agriculture. Eucalyptus trees are the source of most of the pollen produced. They found that western Australia eucalyptus pollens are dominated by Linoleic Acid, an essential fatty acid for human health. Linoleic Acid aids in lowering the amount of low-density lipoproteins in blood cholesterol

Percie du Sert Pollen Products (France)

Patrice Percie du Sert - agronomic engineer turned beekeeper, discovered fresh pollen and its amazing qualities in the spring of 1992. Suffering at the time from a serious pulmonary illness, tired out, depressed and ready to give up his professional life, one morning he decided to give his morale a boost by going to visit his hives. He took a little nibble of fresh pollen straight from the hive, and soon found himself consuming up to 150 grams a day. Within a week, Percie du Sert was astonished to notice that he didn't feel as tired.... "I immediately thought it must be the pollen, but since I'm first and foremost a scientist, I couldn't help but be very skeptical (...). So I stopped taking the pollen, only to find that the fatigue came right back. I tried this experiment again and again, and every time I stopped, I suffered a relapse. This empirical evidence led me to the conclusion that fresh pollen might really have amazing recuperative powers. "As I carried on with my treatment, I kept feeling better and better."
Patrice Percie du Sert invented and patented a technique in 1994 that allows all the nutrients in fresh bee pollen to be preserved. Now acknowledged as an authority on bee pollen, he is regularly invited to conferences on diet and foods with an exceptionally high nutritional value. He also works with several research centers, in both the private and public domain, investigating the effects of fresh pollen on chronic diseases in humans. At fifty-eight years old Mr Percie du Sert performs each of his various roles of company director, researcher, beekeeper and teacher, with formidable energy; in his book "The Healing Powers of Pollen", he explains his secret!

Percie du Serts method of processing bee pollen is unique. The pollen is frozen at collection and packed in a nitrogen filled package; oxygen is excluded, eliminating decay. This process allows the pollen to be presented as close to its pure state as possible.

His book,  "The Healing Powers of Pollen" examines the subject in all its detail and uncovers the secrets of this ancient food. Patrice Percie du Sert presents the results of documented scientific research on the properties of different kinds of pollen, and considers the beneficial effects of pollen in the context of a comprehensive review of environmental and especially dietary factors that affect our health.

We consider Percie du Serts pollen to be the finest quality pollen available.
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