With cold and flu season in full swing, it's important to be health conscious and prepared. I know that for me and my allergies, most over-the-counter remedies like Mucinex or Sudafed don't always do the trick, so I decided to take my health into my own hands and switch to the holistic approach of bee pollen.
Bee pollen is nothing new to holistic medicine today, and natural health practitioners often refer to bee pollen as the herbal "fountain of youth" used for everything from weight loss, to therapy for seasonal allergies, and even to some cases of cancer prevention and remedies.
Steve Schecter, ND
, writes in a weblog
about bee pollen saying, "Bee pollen is often referred to as nature's most complete food. Human consumption of bee pollen is praised in the Bible, other religious books and ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts. Bee pollen rejuvenates your body, stimulates organs and glands, enhances vitality and brings about a longer life span."
Shirley Lipschutz-Robinson, author of the website Shirley's Wellness Cafe
, had an array of illnesses and health difficulties prior to switching to a holistic lifestyle in 1982. "I was addicted to over-the-counter medicines to try anything to cure me," she said. After switching to the holistic lifestyle and drastically changing her diet, she began taking multiple vitamins, including large doses of vitamin B complex and bee pollen everyday.
"I take a tablespoon of bee pollen a day, but I also take a number of other natural supplements," Lipschutz-Robinson said. Since these changes in her lifestyle and with the help of bee pollen, Lipschutz-Robinson claims to not have experienced a cold, flu or infection in 20 years and has cured herself of eczema and other diseases she had previously struggled to conquer.
So, what exactly is bee pollen?
Bee pollen is the seed found in the stamen of flower blossoms, and when bees move from flower to flower in search of nectar, pollen collects on the bees' legs. The bees then produce the nectar and enzymes into the flower to create the edible version we know as bee pollen. Bee pollen includes countless vitamins and minerals, and as one of the most nutritionally complete natural substances found on earth, it is especially rich in B vitamins and antioxidants.
Clint McCallum, a current chiropractic student living in Austin, Tex., began taking bee pollen six years ago to better his health. Since then, he has claimed to have more energy, never getting sick and has less of an appetite overall. "We're blinded today by what the doctors are trained to tell us about medicine, but people don't realize that in biblical times all you needed to survive was air, nutrients, water and sun," McCallum said.
A huge believer in the benefits of bee pollen, McCallum takes a spoonful of the bee pollen granules every morning for breakfast, and says the best kind to take comes from local farms. "I learned most of what I know about it on my own, but I believe in fasting and eating fresh, live foods first and foremost."
Bee pollen is available in powdered forms, granules, tablets and capsules. Capsules contain other beehive products like royal jelly or honey, and like McCallum said, local fresh granules are probably the best to consume because they are pure vitamins without the mixture of other supplements. I currently take the capsules, though, which are oval-shaped and about the same size as an Excedrin capsule.
Where do I find bee pollen?
Edward Todd, the manager of health food store, Manna Grocery
in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said, "Bee pollen, in general, is mainly used for a good energy boost. With local honey, you are getting local pollen and local histamines so it is great for seasonal allergy sufferers. Just a tablespoon a day of local honey can have a dramatic effect on allergies."
Manna Grocery offers all the different types of bee pollen all at the reasonable prices of under $15, as well as other energy products that contain bee pollen complexes (see their website for specific products and prices). "We also have a local bee farm called Hewett's Honey Farm in Duncanville, Alabama, that delivers fresh honey all year round," Todd said. If you aren't from Tuscaloosa, you can find bee pollen at any health food store in your area, or online for right around the same prices.
How do I start taking bee pollen?
To some people, myself included, consuming pure bee pollen doesn't exactly seem appetizing ... it can have a sort of dry or rough texture when ingesting, that might turn people away. When you live your life one way for years and then suddenly decide to switch, the challenge can be quite difficult.
Jill Lang, a medical sales associate from Houston, Tex., learned about the health benefits of bee pollen from her son. "I'm starting to get the hang of it," Lang said. "I'm so glad that I've started to get in the habit of taking it everyday, though, because I know that it will be beneficial to me and for my health in the long run."
If you are a beginner to bee pollen, introduce it into your diet slowly, with one or two granules at a time. Don't cook with the granules or add them to anything that requires heat, because heat destroys the live enzymes and reduces the nutritional value present in the pollen. Some ways beginners make the ingesting of the pollen easier on themselves is adding cinnamon, stirring the granules into fruit or vegetable juices, whirling the powder into salad dressings or sprinkling the granules on toast or peanut butter.
Bee pollen can be extremely beneficial to your diet and your health during the allergy season, but it alone will not cure you overnight. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live the long life we all want to live, we have to remember all the components needed in our diet, as well as regular exercise and rest.
"A big problem with our health that people don't realize is the amount of stress we put on ourselves that affects our bodies. We need to treat our bodies well with the nutrients it needs, so we can sit back and let it do what God intended for it to do," said McCallum.
After taking bee pollen for almost a year now, I have definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels and improved immune system. Instead of seeking refuge in over-the-counter remedies, try the natural approach of bee pollen. Plain and simple, our health is in our hands, and bee pollen may be one way to lead it in the right direction during this year's cold and flu season.