Bee Pollen-Friend or Foe?

October 5, 2008


I went over to the local farm-market today and was chatting with the bee-keeper from Berry Ledges, John Baker. We were looking at his autumn honey which has a deep red color from the Japanese Knotweed that was in bloom this August. It was first introduced as an ornamental and for erosion control but now is known as an invasive plant and it is growing along my road. In late August the bees flock to the fragrant white flowers. I had a taste of the honey- delish! Bought a jar.

I also tasted bee pollen for the first time. I have heard that people with allergies use bee pollen to build immunity – but I had a bad reaction- my throat swelled up first with blisters and then just one big welt, turned red, and my mouth tingled, my lips went numb- all within 15 minutes- I was very concerned that I might not be able to swallow. I took a claritin and waited as calmly as I could and the symptoms seemed to stabilize and slowly improve. Freaked me out, though. I have since read a great deal about bee pollen and there are mixed reviews. Some people consider it the perfect food. And some people warn us to use it carefully. There are no documented studies showing that bee pollen improves performance or helps relieve allergies. If you have seasonal allergies- try one or two pellets of bee pollen to see if you are sensitive to it before you try using it in any quantity. There have been cases of anaphylactic shock reported. 

I’ll stick to using honey in my tea and leave the pollen to the bees.