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Side effects from bee pollen: Bee Pollen Benefits and Side Effects

Bee Pollen Benefits and Side Effects

Written by Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on October 05, 2021

  • What Is Bee Pollen?
  • How Is Bee Pollen Used?
  • How Much Bee Pollen Should You Take?
  • Can You Get Bee Pollen Naturally From Foods?
  • Is Bee Pollen Safe?

For years, herbalists have touted bee pollen as an exceptionally nutritious food. They’ve even claimed it is a cure for certain health problems. Yet after years of research, scientists still cannot confirm that bee pollen has any health benefits.

Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. It comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of bees as they fly from one flower to another. Bee pollen may also include bee saliva.

It’s important to avoid confusing bee pollen with natural honey, honeycomb, bee venom, or royal jelly. These products do not contain bee pollen although there are combination products that contain one or more of these substances.

Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements, as well as in skin softening products used for baby’s diaper rash or eczema.

You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholism, asthma, allergies, health maintenance, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, or stomach problems. It’s also used as an energy tonic.

But there is no proof that it helps with these conditions. Before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.

Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns. A few studies have been promising:

  • One small study found evidence that bee pollen might reduce some side effects of radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Other studies looked at an extract of bee pollen and found some benefits in men who have chronic prostatitis or an enlarged prostate.
  • Another study found that a product containing bee pollen (and several other ingredients) seemed to reduce PMS symptoms.

But more research needs to be done before it’s known whether bee pollen truly helps with those conditions.

The many other uses of bee pollen — from increasing strength to slowing aging — are largely unstudied.

As a food, bee pollen does at least seem to be nutritious. It’s a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Since bee pollen is an unproven treatment, there is no standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.

There are no food sources of bee pollen besides the pollen itself.

Bee pollen appears to be safe for most people, at least when taken for a short term. But if you have pollen allergies, you may get more than you bargained for. Bee pollen (like ragweed or other plants, depending on where the bee pollen comes from) can cause a serious allergic reaction — including itching, redness, shortness of breath, hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis.

Bee pollen is not safe for children or pregnant women. Women should also avoid using bee pollen if they are breastfeeding.

Bee pollen may cause increased bleeding if taken with certain blood thinners like warfarin. Check with your doctor before taking bee pollen if you take any medications, over-the-counter medicines, or herbals.

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Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews


Bee pollen is flower pollen that’s collected by worker bees, mixed with nectar and bee saliva, and then packed into honeycomb cells in the hive.

Bee pollen might help stimulate the immune system, but it’s not clear how bee pollen causes these effects.

People take bee pollen for athletic performance, hay fever, eczema, constipation, obesity, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using bee pollen for COVID-19.

Bee pollens come from many different plants, so the contents of bee pollen can vary significantly. Don’t confuse bee pollen with beeswax, bee venom, honey, propolis, or royal jelly. These other bee products are not the same.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Athletic performance. Taking bee pollen by mouth doesn’t seem to improve athletic performance.

There is interest in using bee pollen for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Bee pollen is possibly safe when used for up to 30 days. It’s usually well-tolerated, but some people might experience allergic reactions.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Bee pollen is possibly safe when used for up to 30 days. It’s usually well-tolerated, but some people might experience allergic reactions.

Pregnancy: Taking bee pollen by mouth is possibly unsafe during pregnancy. It might stimulate the uterus and threaten the pregnancy. Don’t use it.

Breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bee pollen is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Pollen allergy: Bee pollen can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to certain types of pollen. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Bee pollen might increase the effects of warfarin. Taking bee pollen with warfarin might result in an increased chance of bruising or bleeding.


There isn’t enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of bee pollen might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.

Benefits and side effects of bee pollen