Royal Jelly: Is It Good For You?
Royal jelly is a substance that is secreted by nurse bees in a colony to feed larvae and the queen bee. Because of its potency, royal jelly is touted as a dietary supplement and alternative treatment for everything from menopause to skin conditions.
Royal jelly is harvested from the queen cells of beehives and sold as a supplement or in skin creams to enhance collagen production, ease premenstrual and postmenopausal symptoms, and improve overall health.
However, while modern science has lent some support to these and other traditional medicine claims about royal jelly, much more research is needed.
Potential Health Benefits of Royal Jelly
Royal jelly carries many potential health benefits that are supported by research. However, royal jelly can also create complications for people with certain medical conditions or allergies.
Research has found a number of potential health benefits to royal jelly:
Royal jelly has demonstrated antibacterial properties against a range of bacteria. The evidence suggests that royal jelly may be a valuable ingredient in developing future antibacterial remedies.
In addition to its antibacterial properties, royal jelly also shows efficacy against viruses, including the herpes simplex virus. One study found that royal jelly inhibited the growth of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and decreased viral load, suggesting that royal jelly may be used as an alternative treatment to antiviral medication.
In a systematic review, royal jelly was shown to be an effective treatment for diabetes mellitus. It demonstrated efficacy in improving glycemic status, lipid profiles, and oxidative stress.
Royal jelly may help to relieve many of the symptoms associated with menopause. In a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, women who took 1,000 mg of royal jelly daily over eight weeks saw improvement in symptoms.
Another study showed that vaginal application of royal jelly helped to increase lubrication and reduce vaginal atrophy for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Royal jelly is a popular ingredient in skin creams, and the research supports its use as collagen enhancer. By boosting collagen production in the skin, royal jelly also helps to protect skin against the effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Potential Risks of Royal Jelly
Because royal jelly is so potent, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. Consider the following before using royal jelly:
Royal jelly can cause a range of allergic reactions, from contact dermatitis to anaphylaxis. Use caution when introducing royal jelly and discontinue use if you experience an allergic reaction.
The effects of royal jelly on someone who is pregnant or breast-feeding are unclear. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding a baby, it is best to look for an alternative.
Royal jelly may interact with other medications you are taking. Consult your healthcare provider before adding royal jelly to your diet in order to rule out any potential interactions.
10 benefits of royal jelly
Historically, one of the most valued groups of natural medicines is that of bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. Fresh Royal jelly is a unique, thick, milky substance that the worker bees manufacture and feed to the Queen bee. It's the sole source of nutrition of the Queen bee and aids her everyday vitality. The worker bees mix honey and bee pollen with enzymes in the glands of their throats to produce royal jelly.
What are the healing properties of royal jelly?
Here are 10 healing benefits of royal jelly:
1. It boosts the immune system, in general, and heals mucositis, in particular. Just like honey, it also improves asthma rates.
2. Studies have shown a cholesterol and lipoprotein-lowering effect of royal jelly, as well as triglyceride-lowering and HDL-increasing, conferring a benefit on cardiovascular health.
3. It improves the blood’s glucose levels, as well as ulcerations related to diabetes.
4. It improves anaemia rates by slightly increasing the number of red blood cells.
5. It increases testosterone levels in men that regularly consume it, as well as improving sperm quality. Royal jelly has also been shown to have a positive impact on the FSH/LH ratio, however, this effect is reversible upon cessation of supplementation. Royal jelly increases libido, too.
6. Consumption of 3000mg of royal jelly daily has been linked to increased cognition in middle and older age and is protective against Alzheimer’s disease.
7. It increases collagen and improve skin’s appearance. For that reason, it is also used to heal wounds; it increases fibroblast migration, cells in connective tissue that produce collagen. Royal jelly has been suggested in suppressing skin pigmentation, and hence is proposed as a candidate to inhibit melanogenesis, thus it could be developed as cosmetics skincare products. Melanin synthesis reduction occurs via tyrosinase expression down-regulation.
8. Due to its nutrient combination, royal jelly (combined with other bee products) has been shown to alleviate unpleasant premenstrual symptoms, such as irritability, weight fluctuations and water retention.
9. It eases menopausal symptoms. Preliminary research has shown that royal jelly protects against osteoporosis by decreasing bone resorption (anti-osteoclastic).
10. Confers antiproliferative effects on neuroblastoma cells, making it a possible anti-cancer superfood.
Side effects and contraindications
Like all bee products, allergic reactions are the most common side effects. If there is a known allergy to conifer and poplar trees, royal jelly should be avoided. Allergic reactions can range from mild (e.g. mild gastrointestinal upset) to severe (e.g. asthma, anaphylaxis [shock], intestinal bleeding, even death in people who are extremely allergic to bee products).
Selection, Preparation, and Storage of Royal Jelly
Royal jelly comes in a variety of forms, including tablets, royal jelly capsule, liquids, pastes, and unprocessed raw jelly. It can be sourced online or found in drugstores, health food stores, and certain higher-end grocery stores.
Royal jelly supplements are by far the easiest form to use and dose. The tablets and softgels are both made with lyophilized (freeze-dried) royal jelly and can be safely stored at room temperature.
Always read the product label to see what other ingredients are included. If you don't know what an ingredient is, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. For added quality and safety, choose an organic brand over a non-organic one.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, be sure that the gelcaps you choose do not contain animal-based gelatins.
Unprocessed royal jelly is usually packaged in small, dark glass bottles in doses ranging from 250 to 500 mg. Royal jelly can be quite bitter and is often mixed with honey to improve the taste.
The main disadvantage of unprocessed royal jelly is that it does not keep well, lasting for only two weeks in a refrigerator or a few months in the freezer. It is also quite expensive.
Royal jelly liquid and paste are more shelf-stable but often include stabilizers and preservatives to prolong their expiration. These can generally be stored for up to six months in the refrigerator or up to three years in the freezer.
If you decide to freeze royal jelly, divide it into small portions first. Defrost it only when you are ready to use it immediately. Royal jelly should never be refrozen once thawed.
When exposed to air, royal jelly can turn from a creamy yellow to a darker brown. Over time, the gelatinous texture can also become dense and harder to spoon. Ultimately, the color, texture, and taste is an indication of royal jelly's freshness.
Never use royal jelly beyond its expiration date, if it smells funny, or if it develops a rotten taste.
4 Unique Health Benefits of Honey
Honey is a syrupy liquid that honeybees make from plant nectar. Loved worldwide for its sweetness and depth of flavor, it’s used in many foods and recipes,such as honey drink.
The smell, color, and taste of honey vary based on the type of flowers it’s made from, so there are countless varieties available.
Honey has a number of potential health benefits and plays a role in many home remedies and alternative medicine treatments.
Here are 7 unique health benefits of honey.
1. Contains a variety of nutrients
One tablespoon (20 grams) of honey contains:
Fat: 0 grams
Protein: 0 grams
Carbs: 17 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Riboflavin: 1% of the Daily Value (DV)
Copper: 1% of the DV
Honey is essentially pure sugar, with no fat and only trace amounts of protein and fiber. It contains small amounts of some nutrients, but most people typically don’t consume enough honey for it to be a significant dietary source of vitamins and minerals.
Still, it’s worth noting that honey is rich in health-promoting plant compounds known as polyphenols.
2. Rich in antioxidants
High quality honey — which is minimally processed, unheated, and fresh — contains many important bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. Darker varieties tend to offer more antioxidants than lighter varieties.
Antioxidants help neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) in your body, which can build up in cells and cause damage. This damage can contribute to conditions like premature aging, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease .
As such, many of honey’s health benefits are attributed to its antioxidant content.
3. Better for blood sugar levels than regular sugar
When it comes to blood sugar management, honey may offer some slight benefits over regular sugar.
Although honey raises your blood sugar level just like other types of sugar do, the antioxidants it contains may help protect against metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers have found that honey may increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that reduces inflammation and improves blood sugar regulation .
There’s also some evidence that daily honey intake may improve fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
However, while honey may be slightly better than refined sugar for people with diabetes, it should still be consumed in moderation.
It’s also important to know that certain types of honey could be diluted with plain syrup. Although honey adulteration is illegal in most countries, it remains a widespread problem.
4. May improve heart health
Honey may also help prevent heart disease.
According to one review, honey may help lower blood pressure, improve blood fat levels, regulate your heartbeat, and prevent the death of healthy cells — all factors that can improve your heart function and health.
One observational study including over 4,500 people over age 40 associated a moderate honey intake with a lower risk of high blood pressure among women .
Plus, a study in rats promisingly showed that honey helped protect the heart from oxidative stress .
Additionally, raw honey typically contains propolis, a type of resin that bees produce from sap-producing trees and similar plants. Propolis may improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
All told, there’s no long-term human study available on honey and heart health. More research is needed to better understand honey’s effects on heart health.
The Health Benefits of Propolis
A resin produced by bees, propolis has natural healing properties.
Propolis is a resinous substance that bees produce from materials collect from tree buds. Rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, propolis has a long history of use as a natural treatment for a host of health problems.
Research shows propolis has many healing properties, including antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor qualities.
Found in small quantities in honey, propolis is widely available in supplement form. Propolis is also used as an ingredient in certain medicinal products applied directly to the skin, such as ointments and creams. In addition, propolis is sometimes found in nasal sprays and throat sprays, as well as in mouthwash and toothpaste.
Although few clinical trials have tested the health effects of propolis, there's some evidence that propolis may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from the available studies:
Cold Sore Treatment
Preliminary research suggests that topically applying propolis may help heal cold sores. In a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2010, for example, scientists found that extracts of propolis possess virus-fighting effects that may help knock out against herpes simplex virus type 1, the virus that causes cold sores.
Genital Herpes Treatment
Applying a propolis-based ointment may help treat sores related to genital herpes, according to a study published in Phytomedicine. For the 10-day study, 90 men and women with genital herpes used an ointment containing flavonoids sourced from propolis, an ointment containing acyclovir (a drug used to reduce pain and speed healing of herpes-related sores), or a placebo ointment.
By the study's end, 24 out of the 30 participants in the propolis group had healed (compared to 14 out of 30 in the acyclovir group and 12 out of 30 in the placebo group). Given this finding, the study's authors concluded that an ointment containing flavonoids sourced from propolis may be more effective than both acyclovir and placebo ointments in healing sores related to genital herpes.
Propolis may promote the healing of minor burns, according to a study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. For the study, researchers compared the effects of a propolis-based skin cream with those of silver sulfadiazine, a drug commonly used in the treatment of second- and third-degree burns, in patients with second-degree burns.
Study results showed that propolis and silver sulfadiazine were similarly effective in the treatment of burns. What's more, propolis appeared to offer greater anti-inflammatory benefits than silver sulfadiazine did.
Research suggests propolis can help treat gastrointestinal disorders, including ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal cancers, and ulcers. Components in propolis, including caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), artepillin C, kaempferol, and galangin, have been shown to effectively eliminate pathogens, including H. pylori. The research, however, is limited to animal studies and cell cultures.
Propolis may help fight cavities, a study from Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin shows. In laboratory research, scientists found that compounds found in propolis helped inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, an oral bacteria known to contribute to the development of cavities.
The study suggests that propolis may also help stop Streptococcus mutans from sticking to the teeth.
Findings from animal-based research indicate that propolis may aid in the treatment of diabetes. In a 2005 study published in Pharmacological Research, for example, tests on diabetic rats revealed that treatment with propolis helped lower blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. These results have not be replicated in human studies, however.
Possible Side Effects
Do not use propolis if you have asthma or are allergic to bee by-products (including honey), conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates. Propolis may slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders or during surgery.
Dosage and Preparations
Propolis is available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powder, extract, and lozenge. When used topically, it's found in ointments, creams, lotions, and other personal-care products.
There is no recommended daily allowance of propolis and there is not enough human studies to determine how much propolis should be taken to support health conditions.