The Pros and Cons of Royal Bee Jelly

Royal bee Jelly questionQuestion:  Each morning  my neighbor puts  1/2 teaspoon of  Royal Bee Jelly in her tea.  She swears  it helps her skin  glow as well as soothes her  arthritic knee.  Have you any experience with this product?  Its $140/ jar  and I don’t want  to waste   my money.

Answer:  I agree, our money is a terrible thing to waste.  Royal Bee Jelly is another  centuries old remedies that is still popular in Europe and Asia.  It is a cloudy white secretion from worker bees that is used to feed the Queen Bee.  Since Queen Bees are twice the size and live 40X longer than standard bees, there is  great interest in the potential benefits for humans.

Research on Royal Bee Jelly

Since the 1950’s there have been  a number of small scale studies that show Royal Bee  Jelly has anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory action.  But wait there is more.  In labratory studies it  has been shown to stimulate fibroblasts which are the building blocks of collagen.  This is definately  a good thing since more  collagen means   less wrinkles. ( keep in mid that this is an animal, not human study).  Other studies suggest  that Royal Bee Jelly can  both protect fibroblasts from UV rays and lighten dark patches.

Modern  interest in this bee food reached a  peak in the 1950’s.  According to beauty historians, the word “royal”  tied  it to  coronation frenzy that captured  the world in 1952, when Queen Elizaeth ll was crowned in England.  It was in many high end products including  expensive night creams from Helena Rubinstein and Germaine Monteil. Today  it is still available online  and in drug and department stores.   Its a major ingredient  in Burt’s Bees products  with prices that range  from $4 for an awesome  lip salve to  $25 for a nightcream.  On the other end  you can find fresh  royal bee jelly  in a night cream from Lancome that clocks in at $645. Seriously.

As with  many ingredients, how effective a product is can depend on how much is actually in the formulation.  Standard  cosmetic texts recommend using 100-200 grams of Royal Bee Jelly  per ounce of product–  which is pretty  use less information since  we don’t know how much is in a a jar or tube.  If you are interested in trying royal be jelly  just make certain that you buy it at stores  like CVS and Sephora that have  consumer friendly return policies. If  it does not work for you, you will get your money back.

Royal  Bee Jelly Supplements

Added to  food or  taken in capsules, Royal Bee Jelly has been promoted to  help  many problems including  liver disease, arthritis, fatigue, menopause symptoms, high blood  pressure and even sexual performance. While especially popular in Asia, there are very few actual human studies that  support the claims.  But to be fair there are actually a few studies that  show Royal Bee Jelly  can help  couples struggling with infertility to get pregnant.  Another  human study  suggested that Royal Bee  Jelly may stabilize blodd sugar levels.

Problems with Royal Bee Jelly

WHile the data for effectiveness is considered controversial, side effects have been well documented.  It’s not surprising that  people  with allergies to bee stings should stay away from Royal bee Jelly in any form.  Reactions  in sensitive people  have ranged from itching, redness, shortness  of breath and even  death.  There is also concern the Royal Bee Jelly can act  like a pseudo estrogen and stimulate  growth of breast cacer cells.  FInally  current recommendations suggest  children and pregnant/breast feeding women avoid  it since  safety has not been proved in their situations.

I am allergic to bees, so its definately not an option for me.  However my Mom has been a fan for more than 50 years– and she  just celebrated her 100th birthday. You can find royal bee jelly supplements in health food stores sold in either capsules or in a gel.

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