What it does?
Are you deficient?
Amount to take?
What does it do?
Pollen, collected from the flowers of various plants, contains carbohydrates, fat, protein, and some vitamins and minerals.1
A proprietary rye pollen extract (Cernilton®) has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties,2 to relax the muscles that surround the urethra,3 and to inhibit growth of prostate cells.4 This rye pollen extract has been reported to improve symptoms of chronic prostatitis in uncontrolled trials,5 6 7 including a trial in which three tablets daily significantly reduced symptoms in 78% of people with uncomplicated prostatitis. However, only one of eighteen people with complications (such as scar tissue and calcifications) improved.8
Preliminary9 10 11 and double-blind12 13 14 trials have demonstrated that a proprietary rye pollen extract is effective at reducing the symptoms of BPH.
A preliminary report from the Ukraine on the use of flower pollen in humans with rheumatoid arthritis suggested positive effects on related disorders of the liver, gallbladder, stomach, and intestine.15 Pollen extracts have been used orally to desensitize people to plants to which they are allergic.16 17 18 19 20 For example, people with hay fever allergies to grass pollen were asked to place drops of liquid grass pollen extract under their tongue daily for three weeks using a gradually increasing concentration, in a double-blind study. After the three-week period, pollen was given twice per week at a “maintenance” level. During the next allergy season they had significantly less severe hay fever symptoms, than a group given placebo drops.21
Melbrosia, a mixture of flower pollen, fermented bee pollen, and royal jelly, was reported to help relieve menopausal symptoms in about one-third of women in an uncontrolled survey in Denmark.22 This result agrees with an earlier, controlled study that found melbrosia (amount not stated) was more effective than a placebo for menopausal symptoms, including headache, urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness, and low vitality.23 According to animal studies, melbrosia does not work by causing estrogen-like effects in body tissues.24 Whether royal jelly alone might have similar effects on menopausal symptoms is unknown.
Where is it found? Most noncultivated plants produce pollen. Commercial pollen is collected from bees returning to their hives (bee pollen) or may be directly harvested with machines (flower pollen). It is not clear which plants produce the most effective pollens. Some of the most common pollens used are timothy grass, corn, rye, and pine.
Who is likely to be deficient? Since pollen is not an essential bodily constituent, deficiencies do not occur.
How much is usually taken? The optimal intake of pollen is unknown. Some doctors recommend using 500 mg two to three times per day. Research on the proprietary rye pollen extract has used three to six tablets, or four capsules, per day.
Are there any side effects or interactions? Many people have allergies to inhaled pollens. Allergic reactions to ingested pollen (some of them quite serious) have also been reported.25 26 27 Otherwise, no significant adverse effects have been reported.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Pollen.
1. Stanley RG, Liskens HF. Pollens. Springer-Verlag: New York, 1974.
2. Loschen G, Ebeling L. Inhibition of arachidonic acid cascade by extract of rye pollen. Arzneimittelforschung 1991;41:162–7 [in German].
3. Nakase K, Takenaga K, Hamanaka T, et al. Inhibitory effect and synergism of cernitin pollen extract on the urethral smooth muscle and diaphragm of the rat. Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshi 1988 Jun;91:385–92 [in Japanese].
4. Habib FK, Ross M, Buck AC, et al. In vitro evaluation of the pollen extract, cernitin T-60, in the regulation of prostate cell growth. Br J Urol 1990;66:393–7.
5. Jodai A, Maruta N, Shimomae E, et al. A long-term therapeutic experience with Cernilton in chronic prostatitis. Hinyokika Kiyo 1988;34:561–8 [in Japanese].
6. Ohkoshi M, Kawamura N, Nagakubo I. Clinical evaluation of Cernilton in chronic prostatitis. Jpn J Clin Urol 1967;21:73–6.
7. Suzuki T, Kurokawa K, Mashimo T, et al. Clinical effect of Cernilton in chronic prostatitis. Hinyokika Kiyo 1992;38:489–94 [in Japanese].
8. Rugendorff EW, Weidner W, Ebeling L, et al. Results of treatment with pollen extract (Cernilton N) in chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia. Br J Urol 1993;71:433–8.
9. Horii A, Iwai S, Maekawa M, Tsujita M. Clinical evaluation of Cernilton in the treatment of the benign prostatic hypertrophy. Hinyokika Kiyo 1985;31:739–46 [in Japanese].
10. Ueda K, Jinno H, Tsujimura S. Clinical evaluation of Cernilton® on benign prostatic hyperplasia. Hinyokika Kiyo 1985;31:187–91 [in Japanese].
11. Hayashi J, Mitsui H, Yamakawa G, et al. Clinical evaluation of Cernilton in benign prostatic hypertrophy. Hinyokika Kiyo 1986;32:135–41 [in Japanese].
12. Becker H, Ebeling L. Conservative therapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with Cernilton. Urologe (B) 1988;28:301–6 [in German].
13. Buck AC, Cox R, Rees RW, et al. Treatment of outflow tract obstruction due to benign prostatic hyperplasia with the pollen extract, cernilton. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br J Urol 1990;66:398–404.
14. Maekawa M, Kishimoto T, Yasumoto R, et al. [Clinical evaluation of Cernilton on benign prostatic hypertrophy—a multiple center double-blind study with Paraprost]. Hinyokika Kiyo 1990;36:495–516 [in Japanese].
15. Voloshyn OI, Pishak OV, Seniuk BP, et al. The efficacy of flower pollen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and concomitant diseases of the gastroduodenal and hepatobiliary systems. Likarska Sprava 1998;4:151–4 [in Ukrainian].
16. Vourdas D, Syrigou E, Potamianou P, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of sublingual immunotherapy with standardized olive pollen extract in pediatric patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and mild asthma due to olive pollen sensitization. Allergy 1998;53:662–72.
17. Horak F, Stubner P, Berger UE, et al. Immunotherapy with sublingual birch pollen extract. A short-term double-blind placebo study. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 1998;8:165–71.
18. Ariano R, Panzani RC, Augeri G. Efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy in respiratory allergy to Parietaria judaica pollen. A double-blind study. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 1998;8:155–60.
19. Clavel R, Bousquet J, Andre C. Clinical efficacy of sublingual-swallow immunotherapy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a standardized five-grass-pollen extract in rhinitis. Allergy 1998;5:493–8.
20. Litwin A, Flanagan M, Entis G, et al. Oral immunotherapy with short ragweed extract in a novel encapsulated preparation: a double-blind study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997;100:30–8.
21. Hordijk GJ, Antvelink JB, Luwema RA. Sublingual immunotherapy with a standardised grass pollen extract; a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 1998;26:234–40.
22. Kristoffersen K, Thomsen BW, Schacke E, Wagner HH. Use of natural medicines in women referred to specialists. Ugeskr Laeger 1997;159:294–6 [in Danish].
23. Szanto E, Gruber D, Sator M, et al. Placebo-controlled study of melbrosia in treatment of climacteric symptoms. Wien Med Wochenschr 1994;144:130–3 [in German].
24. Einer-Jensen N, Zhao J, Andersen KP, Kristoffersen K. Cimicifuga and Melbrosia lack oestrogenic effects in mice and rats. Maturitas 1996;25:149–53.
25. Cohen SH, Yunginger JW, Rosenberg N, Fink JN. Acute allergic reaction after composite pollen ingestion. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1979;64:270.
26. Mansfield LE, Goldstein GB. Anaphylactic reaction after ingestion of local bee pollen. Ann Allergy 1981;47:154–6.
27. Noyes JH, Boyd GK, Settipane GA. Anaphylaxis to sunflower seed. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1979;63:242–4.