What is Bee Pollen?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Bee pollen, which is also called “bee bread” and sometimes “ambrosia” is a staple food for honey bees and their young. All bee larva are nursed on bee pollen except for those larvae that are meant to become queen bees. These particular larva are fed royal jelly instead of the pollen.


Bee pollen is a composite food of both honey and pollen which worker bees collect. Some people believe this substance is an incredibly healthy food for humans as well as bees. It has been proven this pollen contains essential vitamins and minerals. Zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron are all present within it.

Bee pollen can be consumed as a supplement in pill form.
Bee pollen can be consumed as a supplement in pill form.

Bee pollen is also protein and carbohydrate rich. While the beneficial effects are merely speculative, it is a popular nutritional supplement. Many people who rely on natural health methods and homeopathic remedies use it to boost energy and assist mental performance. Some people even take the pollen as a preventative measure to stave off hay fever. The pollen is also an ingredient in some Chinese herbal remedies.

Bee pollen is sometimes used to prevent hay fever symptoms.
Bee pollen is sometimes used to prevent hay fever symptoms.

Many people who use bee pollen as a supplement or remedy feel that it is a natural superfood. The pollen is created to feed growing bees as well as adult bees and it believed to contain unparalleled nutritional complexity. “Nutritional complexity” means that the food has many different kinds of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Enthusiasts generally believe the pollen is incredibly well nutritionally balanced.

Some individuals seeking a natural remedy to pollen allergies have used bee pollen in order to strengthen their pollen resistance. It is important to note, however, that people who are sensitive to pollen should consult a physician before using or consuming this substance or a products that include it. Some people have experienced allergic reactions from exposure to the pollen.

All bee larvae are fed pollen except for those destined to be queens.
All bee larvae are fed pollen except for those destined to be queens.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


@cardsfan27 - Bee pollen is different from propolis. Depending on what type of pollen the bees are collecting, the bee pollen can taste different.

There is a man that lives just a few houses down the road from me who raises bees. He labels all of his products as organic, although I am not sure how you could have anything besides organic bee pollen or honey. I guess it works, though, because people love to buy it.

I have tried the bee pollen before, but I didn't really care for it. It was kind of bitter and chewy. I guess if all the stories about bee pollen health benefits are true, though, that it might be worth taking if you were into those types of things.


I don't think I have ever heard of bee pollen before. How exactly is it made by the bees? Do they just take pollen that they collect from plants and mix it with honey? It seems like that wouldn't be very tasty to eat if you were a human.

The bee pollen isn't the same thing as propolis is it? I know that is what bees use to fill up some of the spaces in their hives. When I was younger, my grandfather used to chew on propolis gum. I always thought it was kind of nasty, but he swore that it tasted great.

If you wanted to buy bee pollen, is it something that you could buy at a nutrition store, or would you have to find it online somewhere? Has anyone ever used it with success as a homeopathic remedy for anything? I hate going to the doctor, so I am always willing to try to find a new type of home remedy.


@Horsies - Great idea. I have been using bee pollen for a few weeks, and I also have a problem with the taste. One thing I have found is that it mixes well with plain yogurt. It gives it sort of a honey taste but can still be quite bitter.

I have been using it to try to reduce my pollen allergies, and it seems to be working. I am not completely sure, though, because he haven't had a high pollen day in quite some time. I wasn't aware that it had so many nutrients in it, though.

Does anyone here use bee pollen as a nutritional supplement? How does it work compared to other options?


@CoffeeGirl85, - I blend mine with my cereal in the morning. Some brands do taste better than others. Dutchman's Gold is the best one I have tasted, but as far as I know you can only order it online.


@CoffeeGirl85 - I mix mine with coconut milk or with tea and honey to add sweetness. You can mix it with any drink you like, really. I know some people who sprinkle it on top of food, as well. Just don't cook with it, because it destroys some of the nutrients.


I tried bee pollen and I like the benefits but not the taste. Is it OK to mix it with other things? If so, what is recommended?

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