The products of the hive contain unsuspected health virtues. Pollen can be an interesting ally to relieve benign prostatic hypertrophy.
What is bee pollen?
Pollen is the male microgametophytes produced by the stamens of flowers. It consists of many microscopic elements, the pollen grains, which each measure 0.02 mm to 0.04 mm. When the bees come to loot the nectar of the flowers, they catch on their paws the pollen of flowers they carry in small balls called pollen pellets. These balls are then mixed by the bee with yeasts and lactic ferments from the nectar of the plants. Fresh frozen pollen contains lactic ferments and live yeasts but not the dried pollen.
Depending on the floral origin, pollen composition may vary. It includes:
• 30% to 55% carbohydrates (mainly glucose and fructose);
• 25% to 30% protein (the content varies depending on the climatic conditions, the soil characteristics in which the plants grow and the season);
• Amino acids: arginine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine;
• 1% to 20% lipids, including part of essential fatty acids;
• 18% water;
• 18% cellulose;
• 5% minerals: calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sulfur, selenium;
• Group B vitamins in large quantities;
• Vitamins A, C, D, E in lower quantity;
• 5 to 8 lactic ferments;
• 3 yeasts;
• Immunostimulatory substances;
• Enzymes, coenzymes, sterols, bacteriostatic and growth substances, pigments, aromas and volatile oils.
The different pollens
The composition of the different pollens varies according to the flower on which the bees have taken them. In apitherapy, the following pollens are mainly used:
• The cistus pollen containing carotenoids and protects the intestinal mucosa;
• Willow pollen (harvested in the spring) containing substances which protect the retina from the eye and help prevent and delay the evolution of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and is also addressed to men with prostate problems;
• The heather pollen which ensures the protection of the circulatory sphere and is therefore interesting for varicose veins, hemorrhoids but also the brain;
• Chestnut pollen, the most antioxidant, which is particularly suitable for women after 40 years in the menopause period (contains phytoestrogens and inhibits calcium loss);
• Poppy pollen, rich in protein and vitamin C, which ideally accompanies vegetarian diets.
The antioxidant power of pollen
An evaluation was conducted to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of different pollens thanks to the ORAC test. The results show the various pollens have a much higher antioxidant capacity than fruits and vegetables. As a comparison, 15 or 20 grams of fresh pollen is equivalent to 900 grams of vegetables.
What pollen can do for you?
Protecting the intestines
Fresh pollen would be effective in protecting the intestines from inflammatory diseases. The National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in Toulouse has compared the effects of fresh pollen and dried pollen on intestines inflammation of Crohn’s disease-type1. Rats received either fresh frozen cistus pollen, or dried cistus pollen stored in the refrigerator, or placebo. Among rats supplemented with fresh pollen, researchers found 30% less lesions compared to rats which received placebo.
Reduce benign prostatic hypertrophy
Men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) may benefit from pollen virtues. A summary of the clinical trials conducted with a rye flower pollen extract was published in 2001. Two studies were analyzed in all of 444 participants who were suffering from BPH. They concluded pollen reduces nocturia (more important urine emission at night than in the daytime, contrary to normal rhythm) but has no positive effect on other symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Four clinical trials have been conducted since then, in Russia2-3 and in China4-5. According to one of these studies, the optimal dosage of rye pollen to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy and slowing the progression is 750 mg per day in the long term.
A study published in 2006 in the journal Urology suggests that pollen could also help men with prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate6. Researchers followed 60 patients aged 20 to 55 years with non-bacterial prostatitis who received either pollen or placebo. After 6 months of follow-up, the men who had received pollen showed an improvement in the symptoms of prostatitis.
Protect your eyes
Willow pollen may be effective in preventing macular degeneration from the age-related retina (AMD), a disease affecting the elderly and the central vision. This disabling disease is characterized by the formation of dead cell clusters called druze hindering vision by still living cells. Volunteers with AMD have taken willow pollen which would have resulted in the disappearance of druze among some patients after 1 to 2 years. These benefits would be due to the xanthophylls pigments contained in large quantities in willow pollen.
How to take pollen?
Lactic ferments and yeasts contained in fresh pollen are not preserved in the dried pollen. It is therefore better to consume frozen pollen which contains all the virtues of fresh pollen. The ideal is to follow a pollen cure for 6 weeks at the rate of 1 teaspoon each morning at breakfast.
1. F. Lamine, V. Théodorou, P. Percie du Sert. Effect of dry versus fresh cistus bee-pollen in experimental colitis in rats. 2001. Inra, Toulouse.
2. Shaplygin LV, Sivakov AA. Use of cernilton in the therapy of prostatic adenoma and chronic prostatitis. Urologiia. 2007 May-Jun;(3):35-7, 39. Russian.
3. Aslamazov EG, Akhvlediani ND, et al.Cernilton in the treatment of prostatic adenoma and chronic prostatitis. Urologiia. 2007 Jan-Feb;(1):52, 54-6. Russian.
4. Xu J, Qian WQ, Song JD. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue A comparative study on different doses of cernilton for preventing the clinical progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia.. 2008 Jun;14(6):533-7. Chinese.
5. Li NC, Wu SL, et al. Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi. Comparison of different drugs on the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia. 2007 Jul 15;45(14):947-50. Chinese.
6. Elist J. Effects of pollen extract preparation Prostat/Poltit on lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Urology. 2006 Jan;67(1):60-3.