Question: 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.