In today’s adventures in wellness, I want to chat about my personal experiment utilizing bee pollen for allergies! It’s always something, right?
But for reals, as a chick that professes her constant desire to both physically and metaphorically “create a life in color”, Spring is top-notch in my book. A simple dog walk easily becomes an ethereal wonderland on any given Tuesday. But far less enjoyable are the seasonal allergies that often come with this magical time of the year. And while I am not opposed to taking medication, and do when absolutely necessary, I’d rather use a more holistic approach if possible.
So bee pollen for allergies? Sure, why not.
(Please read full medical disclaimer & affiliate disclosure at the bottom of this page. This post contains affiliate links.)
I actually never really experienced seasonal allergies until I moved back to Baltimore as an adult. Not sure what the deali-o is with that — maybe location, maybe age, who knows. Regardless, I can expect like clockwork to want to scratch my eyeballs out of my face pretty much by April every year. I get really congested too, but the eyes… yowsa.
I’ve tried basically all the medicine. Remember — there was a time in my life when I thought a pill was the answer for everything, so no judging. In fact, one time I was even given these steroidal eye drops that not only did little resolve the intense itchiness and watering, but they also managed to burn all the skin around my eyes. Fortunately, the chemical peel appearance dissipated a few weeks after discontinuing the drops. The itching game prevailed though.
And I still take an over the counter allergy pill these days, but only when absolutely needed. This Spring, I decided to conduct a little experiment on myself. As someone fascinated with the concept of biohacking, I embrace trying new ways to optimize my body’s performance. (PSA: again, I’m NOT a physician, so please consult with the appropriate medical provider before altering, ceasing, or adding into your diet.) So, in an attempt to decrease the amount of meds I took this Spring and also reduce my annoying symptoms, I began consuming bee pollen for allergies!
Bee pollen really begins as flower pollen, which is the male seed of the flower. Honey bees collect it, and then bring it back to their hives. Then, it’s stored into those tiny little honeycomb matrix cells for the young bees to utilize as food.
Here’s the coolest part. Bee pollen is like the ultimate complete superfood! It contains basically every nutrient humans need to live! In fact– the German Federal Board of Health actually recognizes Bee Pollen as medicine! (source)
Dr. Axe’s article on bee pollen states–
“Bee pollen is known as an apitherapeutic product because it contains groups of chemical compounds that are made by bees and used for medicinal purposes. In its composition, there are about 250 substances, including amino acids, lipids, vitamins, macro- and micronutrients, and flavonoids.”
Also interesting, bee pollen consists of about 40% protein. According to another Osteopathic physician, Dr. Mercola, approximately half of this protein is made of “free form amino acids that bodies are directly able to utilize”!
Well, good heavens. The list of potential health benefits of consuming bee pollen is lengthy, to say the least. But for the sake of transparency, I want to preface the next section. While many people and practitioners see the nutritional value in bee pollen, there are no large scale, substantial studies yet to support bee pollen in regards to treating disease, or health in general. That doesn’t mean, however, no positive findings exist.
If you’d like to nerd out, like myself, and read studies for fun– check this one out.
So, that being said, here are just a couple reported potential therapeutic advantages of bee pollen. (source)
Doesn’t it sound a bit counterintuitive to eat pollen if it’s the very thing that ignites your seasonal allergies? Well, yes… and no. Those that fall into the camp of believers of bee pollen’s medicinal potential tend to think one explanation for reduced allergy symptoms are a result of the phenomenon called “desensitization”. (source)
This concept is fundamentally similar to that of vaccinations! Basically, the theory is helping your body develop a bit of an immunity response to the allergen.
Given that bee pollen does have so many nutrients, I figured– hey, what the hell? If it doesn’t further subside my allergies, at the very least, I’m getting a heaping dose of minerals, vitamins, and protein!
And guess what????????? You guys, I am kinda blown away by how little allergy meds I have taken this Spring!
No, I did not conduct a scientific clinical trial so my lack of need for allergy medicine on a regular basis could stem from any number of possible factors. I’m not naive.
But since I started taking a teaspoon or two of bee pollen about 4x a week, I have only needed to reach into our medicine cabinet a hand full of times. Again, who knows if this is a direct correlation, but given how absolutely MISERABLE I usually am each Spring, even WITH taking my allergy pills… I’ll take the win.
For starters, there’s always the option of taking it straight to the face. Bee pollen actually tastes pretty great, as there is definitely a sweetness to it. The consistency sort of feels like little tiny chewy nuts. Maybe like that cereal ‘Grape Nuts’?
Suggestions I have seen on the internet recommend taking 1 teaspoon a day, starting as early as 6 weeks before your anticipated allergy season.
The other avenue many enjoy consuming bee pollen is as a topping on smoothies, or in powdered form actually IN your smoothie. My husband found this option to be delicious, and he is a skeptic at best of my zany kitchen creations.
I personally like these two kinds:
You can purchase it here.
I also like a pure powdered form for blending in smoothie from Sunburst Superfoods.
You can purchase that here.
I’m always game to try something essentially harmless if there’s a chance of better understanding my body, and also helping it function better. It’s a bit like being a detective. In this case, if I was Horatio Caine from CSI:Miami (an old guilty pleasure), I’d be currently slipping those wire-rimmed sunglasses back on my face, giving the audience a 3/4 head turn, and whispering something like…
“These bees brought the buzz right to the source. Case closed.”
Whatever that means.
(It means I tried bee pollen and I’m taking way less allergy meds this season.)
To living a less itchy Spring and creating a life in color,
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician first before trying any new physical activity, supplement, or dietary changes.