Pine pollen: no, it doesn’t just cause streamy eyes and a runny nose (if you experience this, this article is probably NOT for you).
Far from being an allergen, pine pollen powder is used by many to harness some downright impressive health benefits, but what does the science say?
What Is Pine Pollen Powder?
If you’re familiar with traditional alternative medicines you’re likely already familiar with some of the big hitters such as reishi, chaga, turkey tail and ashwagandha - but pine pollen may be an entirely new one to you!
Pine pollen powder is a popular supplement sourced from the male spores of pine trees, and while pine pollen may be an allergen to some, to others, it delivers a host of benefits.
Pine pollen powder (and red pine needle oil) has been used in Korean and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and it can be found on almost all species of pine trees in the world.
However, the most popular pine pollen powder supplements are sourced in Southwestern China.
What Does Pine Pollen Powder Contain?
Pine pollen powder contains four key compounds that are believed to be responsible for its major health benefits -: testosterone, polysaccharides, phenylalanine, and gibberellins.
We’ll explore each of these compounds in-depth below.
Testosterone is a hormone found in both humans and animals, males and females. In humans, it’s the key male sex hormone.
Testosterone plays a pivotal role in male sexual development, and it can help regulate the libido, produce red blood cells and sperm, increase muscle strength and mass, and even increase bone mass.
Polysaccharides are one of the most common carbohydrates found in food.
These large molecules are primarily made of simple sugars such as glucose and when derived from plant foods, they’re a major part of the human diet.
Polysaccharides can help us store energy, increase communication between cells, and provide structural support.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that’s essential to the human body.
Our bodies use amino acids such as phenylalanine to create important molecules, and it’s considered the ‘building block’ of protein.
Naturally, phenylalanine can be found in breast milk, meat, fish, cheese, peanuts, poultry, and more.
Gibberellins (GA’s) are a type of plant hormone that promote various development processes in plants, such as flowering, germination and stem elongation.
Gibberellins are found in all vascular plants and even some fungi.
Pine Pollen Powder: The Health Benefits
As we can see, pine pollen powder contains some pretty impressive compounds.
If you’re fortunate enough to not be allergic to pine pollen powder, the science suggests that this natural supplement may have some profound benefits for our health.
So let’s explore these in-depth below.
May Help To Increase Testosterone
Many people use pine pollen powder for its believed ability to help increase testosterone levels in the body.
A handful of studies have investigated the link between pine pollen powder and increased testosterone, however, research in this area is lacking.
These studies only examined the quantities of testosterone present in a particular group of pines and not any conclusive effects on increasing testosterone levels within humans.
As pine pollen powder is naturally rich in testosterone, it’s a popular dietary supplement for men around the world who are looking to gain muscle mass and deal with issues related to low testosterone levels.
May Provide Some Anti-Aging Properties
Some studies also suggest that pine pollen powder may provide anti-aging properties and improve longevity.
For example, one study conducted on mice found that pine pollen effectively helped to combat some of the most prominent bio-markers of aging.
However, this is only an isolated animal study, and while the results are exciting, much more research is needed before any conclusions regarding anti-aging properties can be made from a clinical perspective.
May Help Reduce Inflammation
There is also evidence to suggest that pine pollen powder may reduce inflammation (other pollen's such as bee pollen have this property too!).
Some in vitro studies have found that pine pollen may help reduce symptoms of inflammation and may even contain some antioxidant properties.
An additional study performed on mice found that pine pollen may even be an effective treatment for chronic arthritis as well.
May Prevent Hepatic Fibrosis
One report published in 2016 found evidence that pine pollen powder may even be effective in helping to prevent hepatic fibrosis, a liver problem usually caused by chronic injury or inflammation.
In hepatic fibrosis, the wound healing process is exacerbated, and a build-up of connective tissue develops on the liver.
The pine pollen powder used in this study was sourced from a different species of pine to those usually sold in traditional western supplements.
Additional Benefits Of Pine Pollen Powder
Although some of these benefits have not been scientifically proven, pine pollen powder has been used for centuries in many human cultures as a treatment for the following conditions:
- Cold and flu
- Prostate disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Stress recovery
- May reduce the likelihood of a cardiac event
- May prevent some forms of cancer
- Promote weight loss
- Boost brain health
As with all alternative medicines and supplements, the clinical evidence is mostly in its infancy - you should always consult your doctor or GP before taking them.
How To Take Pine Pollen Powder
There are no ‘official dosage’ guidelines for pine pollen powder, however, most manufacturers will recommend starting out with a dosage of about 1/2 a tsp per day.
This is what many refer to as a maintenance dose to help with general health, however, when people are looking to address specific complaints, many take noticeably higher doses.
You should always consult your GP before beginning any dose, and when you do start taking it, start with a small dose first and notice how your body reacts.
Pine pollen powder can be purchased from numerous outlets nowadays, both online and in-store.
However, many manufacturers aren’t all that transparent with their potency and contaminant testing - so always make sure you thoroughly look into their practices before purchasing. This goes for all supplements.
Not sure how to take pollen powder? Here are a few suggestions:
- Mix into hot drinks: You can try mixing your pine pollen powder into a hot drink such as tea or coffee in the morning. Pine pollen powder has a subtle taste, so you’ll be unlikely to detect it in your drink.
- Mix into smoothies or juice: If you’re not a hot drink fan, you can always try mixing pine pollen powder into your favourite cold drink, such as a smoothie or juice.
- Mix into recipes: Because pine pollen powder has such a subtle taste, you can even throw your daily dose into your breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Does Pine Pollen Powder Have Side Effects?
Yes - if you’re allergic to pollen, you should NOT take pine pollen powder.
Pine is a common allergen for many sufferers, and it can produce symptoms such as eye bags, itchy eyes, runny nose, and coughing.
If you’re allergic to pine, you may experience any of the following symptoms when taking pine pollen powder:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy or red eyes
- Dark circles under eyes
It’s also important to note that no clinical trials have been performed to assess the possible side effects of taking pine pollen powder.
However, we do know that symptoms of a pine allergy will emerge when pine pollen powder is ingested.
If you are not a sufferer of pine allergies, pine pollen is considered generally safe with no serious side effects recorded.
As we always say, if you have any doubts at all or experience any unwanted effects - stop taking it immediately and consult your health practitioner.
Where To Buy Pine Pollen Powder?
As mentioned above, we are very selective and cautious when it comes to buying any supplements and alternative medicines - and this includes pine pollen powder.
We only use and recommend products and manufacturers that regularly and transparently test their potency, independently test for any contaminants, and source in an ethical and sustainable manner.
You’ll find links and banners through this article that will take you to the best manufacturers we’ve found.
There may not be much clinical research into the effects of pine pollen powder at this point, but this medicine has been used by humans across the world for many years now to treat a variety of ailments.
Early research and animal studies show promise that pine pollen powder may be an effective treatment to help reduce stress, diminish signs of aging, reduce inflammation, and more.
When purchasing pine pollen powder, we recommend reading the label very closely and opting for a quality and ethics-focused brand (note: we recommend Teelixir Pine Pollen Powder).