In addition to being a Holistic Health Practitioner, Aromatherapist, Herbalist, and Clinical Nutritionist, I am a Reiki Master – That means that I not only give Reiki energetic healing sessions but I can also teach Reiki to others. Doing this type of work, which involves non-judgement, compassion, understanding, and unconditional love, is my biggest passion.
Want a little more energy? Try adding some bee pollen to your smoothie. The next time you order a smoothie from some smoothie joint or juice bar ask them to add bee pollen. It may be an additional charge and I suggest you pay the .50 cents to $1.00 extra if you’re looking to increase your energy in a healthy way. Better yet, you can buy a container of bee pollen from the health food store if you’re serious about adding it to your diet. Look for it in the refrigerated section. Bee pollen is perishable and has a very natural, fresh yogurt-like smell. Always store it in an air-tight container or glass jar, and keep it refrigerated otherwise it could get moldy.
I make my own delicious smoothies at home using my Vita-Mix (a blender works, too). I’ll typically add 1 tablespoon of bee pollen granules to my smoothie mix. Bee pollen has a sort of sweet, chalky taste and can be somewhat pungent if eaten alone although some describe the taste to be bland or innocuous. I guess it depends on your taste buds, however, fresh bee pollen should not have a bitter taste. I suggest adding it to a smoothie or sprinkling it onto salads (it goes well with heartier salads that have couscous, quinoa, or tabbouleh in them). Bee pollen contains a lot of enzymes, so it should not be heated.
Bee pollen can help increase your energy and your libido. Keep reading to discover all of bee pollen’s functions, proper dosage and delivery, and safety concerns. Even if you are allergic to bee stings, you may still be able to take bee pollen. Refer to the section entitled “Dosage and Delivery.” Anyone with a suspected sensitivity to bee pollen should consult a nutritionist before taking.
- Accelerates return to normal heart rate after exercise
- Beneficial for growing children, seniors, rehabilitation after surgery, for those in an emaciated, thin and weakened state
- Beneficial part of a libido enhancing program for men or women
- Contains antioxidants
- Counteracts a number of environmental toxins (two amino acids, L-Cysteine and L-Methionine, that are in bee pollen, contain sulphur. This stimulates glutathione synthesis, which is our internally produced antioxidant)
- Decreases catabolic (tearing down) phase during and after physical effort; can work longer without losing lean muscle mass (would also help with fasting or low calorie diets to protect against loss of muscle)
- Decreases lipid peroxidation. Cell walls are mainly fat; free radicals can oxidize holes in the cell membranes.
- Decreases oxidation of LDL – When LDL oxidizes, it forms plaques in blood vessels
- Decreases the usual side effects of radiotherapy (a dose of 20 grams or about 7/8 oz, 3 times a day was given). It corrects radiation sickness after massive abdominal x-rays. Bee pollen prevents the breakdown of body proteins (which then results in increased production of histamines) when x-rays are taken
- Enhances and strengthens immunity
- Exposure to radiation therapy is the greatest physical and emotional stressor to the immune system. Bee pollen has antioxidants that scavenge free radicals caused by radiation treatment
- Good for low blood sugar or hypoglycemia (with licorice)
- Good source of easily absorbed protein
- Has a bio-stimulating effect, especially endocrine glands, liver, kidneys and adrenals; with the endocrine glands functioning better, then you also see better libido and enhanced immunity
- Has a slight metabolism enhancing effect (when you build lean muscle, metabolism increases)
- Has anti-inflammatory activity (from quercitin)
- Helps normalize hematocrit, which is important during pregnancy and for anemia
- Helps return breathing to normal after exercise
- Helps stop metastasis of cancer and growth of tumors
- Helps with inflamed and/or infected prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH); it is not as good as Saw Palmetto, but can be part of protocol for BPH (in one study, 55% had significant improvement with bee pollen)
- If you want to diminish your sensitivity to airborne pollens, you must begin using bee pollen 2-3 months before allergy season begins
- Improves the ascorbate system which is the ability of the adrenals to store Vitamin C and make it available during times of stress
- In one study, improved kidney/renal panel
- Increases energy, vitality and endurance
- Increases red blood cell production
- Increases white blood cells
- Moderate liver protection against ethionine, carbon tetrachloride (strongest carcinogen known) and chemical solvents (other substances, like milk thistle, are better)
- Physical Performance: Increases rate of recovery. Improves second and subsequent performances (2 yr study done with hurdlers at Stanford by Dr. Jackson; Bee Pollen was given before and between events)
- Pollen has a weak anabolic effect – Helps build new tissue; but it does not build muscle mass like creatinine; supports tissue growth and body weight (1-3 lbs); puts on a little bit of lean mass
- Produces a moderate immuno-regulatory effect
- Regulates blood proteins which helps with immune response
- Regulates production of antibodies or immunoglobulins, IgG and IgM; gammaglobulin shots given when someone is exposed to hepatitis – Bee pollen is a weak immunoglobulin enhancer
- Stimulates interferon production
- Stimulates the endocrine system
- Strengthens and protects epithelial tissue in the body
- Studies were done on hens: Showed an increase in reproductive ability; increased egg-laying. It increased levels of hormones. It can have a positive effect on LH (lutenizing hormone) and estriol estrogen (safest estrogen); also, on various adrenal sterols
- Tends to regulate blood pressure: In high amounts, it decreases blood pressure
- Two studies were done at Stanford University using oral administration of bee pollen. The results showed a very significant improvement in people with hayfever and asthma. Why exactly, we are not sure – It could be because it is nutrient dense and energetic. It is also rich in quercetin, which inhibits the release of histamine and helps to decrease allergic response. It is the strongest anti-inflammatory and allergy reducing bioflavonoid
- Hayfever: There was a 100% improvement in 17.8% of the participants; 75% improvement in 34.25%; and, 50% improvement in 20.5%. Overall, 73% of the patients averaged 75% improvement
- Asthma: Study showed 100% improvement in 1/3 people, 75% improvement in 1/3 of the people and 50% improvement in 11% of the people. Overall, 78% of the asthma patients averaged 75% improvement
- Very effective for UTI
- When taken with meals, it enhances the absorption of other nutrients
- With radiation treatment, levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, RBC’s, WBC’s, and albumin (blood protein) are decreased. When someone takes bee pollen when undergoing radiation, there is much less depletion of these substances
Sources of Bee Pollen
Imported bee pollen may have more herbicides; may have been grown in industrial areas and must be fumigated before coming into the United States. Some people react to this fumigation and they would want to use domestic pollen.
Pollen starts with 13% moisture content. If it is not dried enough and contains too much moisture, you could get mold growth that is not visible. Larger, commercial companies have equipment that dries the pollen sufficiently. These companies also have filters that are used to get out the legs of the bees which are sometimes knocked off in the traps.
If you buy fresh pollen from a local source it is probable that the person would not have efficient drying equipment or filters. This may result in an inferior quality because of the moisture problem.
Some Reputable Companies: Montana Naturals or Montana Big Sky; Premier One (Neutraceutical); Beehive Botanicals (Linda Graham)
Dosage and Delivery
It is important to only use good quality bee pollen. Most effective form is granules.
Bee pollen contains a lot of enzymes, so it should not be heated.
It is generally dried before being marketed.
Bee pollen should be stored in a glass container and kept in the refrigerator most of the time. It can be kept at room temperature for 4-5 days. The shelf life for pollen that has been dried is 2-3 years. The shelf life for fresh pollen is questionable depending on how well it was dried and how it is stored. Fresh pollen should not taste bitter.
Can be taken on a long-term, on-going basis. You can take bee pollen on an empty stomach or with meals.
(If allergic to bee stings) Start with 1-3 granules under the tongue 1-3 times a day. Increase dosage every 3-4 days. First to 1/32 tsp (about 4 granules), then to 1/16 tsp, then to 1/8 tsp, then to ¼ tsp. By the time you get to ¼ tsp, you should be taking this dosage 3 times per day. After getting to ¼ tsp for dosage, then every 3-4 days increase the dosage by ¼ tsp until you are taking 1 TB, 3 times a day. Most people start noticing an effect when they get to a dose of 1 tsp, 3 times per day. It will take about 3 months to build up to 1 TB, 2 times per day.
(If not allergic to bee stings) For prevention, start with ¼ tsp of granules 1-3 times a day with food for enhanced absorption or on an empty stomach. Every 3 to 4 days increase dosage by 1/4 tsp. until you are taking 1 TB, 3 times a day. Therapeutic amount is 1 heaping tsp or 1 tablespoon 3 times a day. Gelatin caps are also available and for preventative purposes, the suggested amount is two capsules 3-4 times daily of 450 mg to 580 mg capsules. A short-term, therapeutic amount of bee pollen is about 3 times the preventative amount.
When you have built up your dosage to 1 TB, most people experience the effect of feeling energized 45 minutes to 1 and ½ hours after taking the bee pollen.
Don’t take at night before bed. It might keep you awake because of its energizing effect.
Children: Take the weight of the child and divide it by the normal weight of the same sex parent. This will give you the percent of the adult dose that the child can take. For example, a child that weighed 50 lbs with a 150 lbs same sex parent would take 1/3 of the adult dose.
You need to gradually increase your dosage of bee pollen. If a person takes too much for them, it may cause nausea and diarrhea. This is because the RNA in bee pollen can be irritating to the stomach and colon. G.I. problems would usually be the result of taking an excessive amount of bee pollen.
Breathing problems after taking bee pollen is usually because it is of very poor quality.
For people that have difficulty with concentrated protein including gout and kidney problems (high purines, creatinine, ammonia), you need to cut back on the dosage or take for a shorter period of time.
For older people, start with a smaller dosage.
Even if you are allergic to bee stings, you can still take bee pollen.
If pregnant or lactating, start with very small dose and work up to 1 to 2 tsp, 3 times per day. Both bee pollen and royal jelly are great for pregnancy if taken in the appropriate dose. You don’t want to take too much because it could produce a laxative effect and result in diarrhea.
There are over 200 active constituents in bee pollen. It is 20-25% protein and contains all essential amino acids. It is 8-15% lecithin. It contains 56 nutrients including quercitin (a bioflavonoid), “B” vitamins, Vitamin E, carotenoids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, phosphorus and iron. It is also very rich in RNA.
While bee pollen contains 56 nutrients considered necessary for health, it has been inaccurately marketed as the most complete and perfect food. It does not contain chlorophyll and some other nutrients.
There are two kinds of pollen. Airborne pollen is the kind people react to (called anemophile). The second kind, called entimophile (“friend of the insect”), relates to insects and bees. It is heavier and stickier than airborne pollen. Bee pollen is the pollen that bees gather from stamens of flowers. This is the most “energetic” part of the plant.
Even with a large therapeutic dose, you are not getting that much of each individual nutrient like protein or calcium. You are taking less quantity of nutrients, but they may be better absorbed because it is a food source substance. The effect of bee pollen may be from the “symphony” of all nutrients – Or it may be the “energy” and “magic” of this substance that cannot be measured.
Bee pollen is rapidly and easily absorbed from the stomach directly into the bloodstream. This is called persorption – Absorption through the esophagus and upper G.I. tract before it hits the small intestine. In one study, dogs were fed milk cream, which they normally digest very slowly. Bee pollen was added to the milk cream. They found that the pollen was in the blood stream, cerebrospinal fluid and urine within two hours (4 hr normal for bloodstream; 6-8 hr normal for CS fluid).
Bee pollen was promoted in the 70’s and 80’s for athletes to increase their endurance and performance.
IV administration is even more effective.
It has a bland, innocuous and slightly sweet taste.
I originally started this blog with the intention of writing about different herbs and providing information about my experiences with them. Almost a year later, here is my first herb posting and it’s on one of my most favorite herbs (hard “h” sound in “herbs” for non-Americans). Ginger root. The Latin name is Zingiber officinale.
I first remember eating pickled ginger when I was 18 years old. It was the first time I went out for sushi. I was told that ginger “cleanses the palate.” I ate it and somewhat enjoyed it. I liked the pickled aspect of it but I wasn’t so sure about the spiciness or hotness of it. I didn’t complain much then, so I ate it with a smile. I must’ve eaten ginger before that time but I don’t remember it. I lived in Japan for 3 years when I was an adolescent and I can’t remember ever tasting ginger. Now I’m an addict in the best sense possible. I slowly acquired a taste for spicy, hot foods and when I learned about the medicinal properties of the herb, I was hooked.
I enrolled at the Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, CA in January of 2009. I was working towards my Holistic Health Practitioner certification and along with that I would be certified as a Clinical Master Herbalist. I’m not so sure about the “Master” portion of that title but it looks pretty on paper. The fact is that I enjoy studying herbs, playing with them, making infusions and decoctions, and sharing my experiences with anyone interested in listening. That’s it.
I drink ginger tea when I have an upset or bloated tummy. The ginger warms my stomach and intestines and is a fabulous aromatic carminative (it helps to expel gas). I drink it when I feel nauseous or cold. It can make you sweat slightly, which is a great way to detoxify (via the skin). I eat pickled ginger or ginger candy before I engage in an activity that will most likely give me some motion sickness: long car rides in the back seat, airplanes, small boats, big boats, cruise ships, the Tea Cups ride at Disneyland, and even surfing!
I love combining peppermint and ginger together for soothing the belly. Plus, it smells really nice!
For those of you who enjoy reading about ginger and would like even more detail, I’ve put together a list of most of the herb’s functions, the dosage and delivery, safety (always, always read!), and some miscellaneous, fun notes about the herb. Enjoy!
Ginger, Zingiber officinale
- Absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the G.I. tract
- Antibiotic activity against salmonella, cholera, thrichomonas
- Anti-inflammatory (because it inhibits prostaglandin and leukotrine synthesis which are part of the inflammatory process, and does not effect levels of beneficial prostaglandins)
- Aromatic carminative (for flatulence, gas, abdominal cramps)
- Assists in treatment of ovarian cysts
- Assists lymph and blood systems in getting rid of fibroid tissue
- Blocks effects of neurotransmitter, substance P, which transmits pain impulses in nerve endings
- Brings more circulation to the area it comes in contact with
- Can combine with cayenne for respiratory infections, colds, and flus (works quickly, but may be too irritating for some people)
- Cardio-tonic (use fresh ginger which accelerates calcium uptake by the heart muscle)
- Contains natural anti-histamines
- Decreases platelet lipid peroxide formation
- Diaphoretic (when taken hot. Historically used as a diaphoretic)
- Digestive aid (promotes secretion of digestive fluids)
- Diuretic (when taken cool)
- Energetics are dry, hot
- Gastrointestinal tonic
- Helps expel worms
- Helps intestines detoxify meat
- Helps lower blood pressure (normalizes blood pressure, low or high. Based on research studies, may regulate blood pressure)
- Helps prevent frostbite
- Helps prevent internal blood clots
- Helps reduce cholesterol (promotes the excretion and impairs the absorption of cholesterol, may decrease cholesterol based on research studies)
- Helps relieve deep muscle tension and helps remove lactic acid when used in a massage oil
- Helps with liver disease (research shows that it may protect liver from toxins)
- Helps with nausea associated with chemotherapy
- Improves peristalsis while exerting an antispasmodic effect
- Improves the body’s ability to assimilate other herbs (the liver deactivates medicinal compounds in herbs; ginger protects herbs from being destroyed so that they can pass through the liver unchanged and remain circulating in the blood for a longer period of time)
- Increases ability to fight infections (colds, flu)
- Increases bile secretion (and also stimulates production of bile)
- Increases thermogenesis (increases metabolism)
- Indicated for dyspepsia (upset stomach, G.I. distress), nausea, digestion of protein and fat, ulcers (helps prevent formation), intestinal parasites, vomiting, earaches, pain, inflammation, stiff joints (use for inflammatory conditions; decreases pain, increases joint mobility, decreases swelling and morning stiffness), arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis), diabetic neuropathy, headaches (relaxes blood vessels in the head and diminishes swelling in the brain), migraines, morning sickness, menstrual cramps (decreases prostaglandin levels), fibroids, bronchial congestion, dandruff
- Inhibits diarrhea
- Inhibits platelet activating factor
- Inhibits platelet aggregation (but does not affect ability of blood to coagulate. This helps keep blood flowing smoothly and helps prevent development of atherosclerosis)
- May tone the heart muscle (based on research studies)
- Menstruation promoter
- Oil is counterirritant
- Secondary brain herb
- Soothes uterus
- Use with an herbal laxative to prevent intestinal cramps
- Used for motion sickness (2.5 times more effective than Dramamine)
- Warming properties which stimulate physiological functions (herbal stimulant, warming to the body)
Dosage and Delivery:
Can use tea, tincture, or capsules. Also available pickled and often served with sushi. Available in a candied form.
- Tea: 2 tsp powdered or grated root per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 min.
- Motion sickness: 1,500 mg 30 min before travel.
- Inflammatory Conditions: 500-3,000 mg per day
- Compress for muscles: Make a ginger tea (decoction), soak cloth in it and apply to area.
Although ginger can relieve morning sickness, pregnant women should not ingest more than 1 gram daily. Contraindicated for pregnant women with a history of miscarriage.
Contraindicated for UTI, inflamed prostate, endometriosis and similar problems. In large amounts it tends to irritate the urogenital tract. May cause heartburn in some people. Doses higher than 6 grams of dried powder on an empty stomach may cause G.I. distress. People with gallstones should consult physician before using medicinal amounts of ginger. Avoid excessive amounts of ginger in cases of acne, eczema, or herpes.
Ginger may cause adverse reactions when used in combination with anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin or aspirin; if you are suing such medications, seek the advice of a qualified health-care practitioner before commencing use of ginger.
Whenever you use a strong herbal laxative, also use a strong aromatic carminative like ginger, fennel, anise, or cardamon which will prevent intestinal cramps from the herbal laxative.
Fresh ginger contains higher levels of gingerol, and protease.
Traditionally it was used to revive a lowered sex drive, and add a warm, stimulant spice to life.
In magical traditions, ginger is said to attract love, prosperity, and success.