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Do you know what claims to believe about the health benefits of royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis?

Bees pick up pollen from flowering plants and bring to their hives. It is good food, but no serious research shows it prevents diseases or prolongs life. The bees convert pollen to honey, a mixture of water, minerals, some vitamins and so much sugar that it pulls water from most bacteria and can be poured onto wounds to kill germs, but there is no solid evidence that it has other health benefits. Adults and children can eat honey safely, but the intestines of infants allow the bacteria that produces botulinum toxin to grow and produce a toxin that can be dangerous.

When the queen bee eats royal jelly, she produces thousands of eggs each day. Without royal jelly the queen bee will die, but no controlled studies show that giving royal jelly to humans cures any disease, prolongs life or makes them more sexual, fertile or healthy.

Bees remove a brown waxy material called propolis from the buds of cone-bearing trees and mix it with a waxy secretion from their bellies to form a cement that they use to form hives and make the chamber for the queen bee to lay eggs. Because propolis kills bacteria and fungi, it has been added to toothpastes, gums and mouthwashes to treat sore throats, but no one has figured out whether this is effective, or how to use propolis in pill form to treat infections.

Checked 5/3/07

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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