The pollen of the magnificent Pine tree also known as Pine Pollen.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- 2 About this Herb:
- 3 What is Pine Pollen?
- 4 Benefits and properties of Pine Pollen:
- 5 When and how to take it?
- 6 Safety and side effects
- 7 Cycling?
Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- Name: Pine Pollen
- Pin Yin: Song Hua Fen,
- Latin: Pollen pini
- Taste: Bitter-sweet and crisp
- Color: yellow (powder)
- Constitution: warm (Yang)
About this Herb:
I remember first reading about Pine Pollen’s power in Stephen Bohner’s book “The Testosterone solution”. Some time after that, Tim Ferriss referred to it in his book the “4hour chef” as highly androgenic, which is when the entire Pine Pollen craze started.
I already knew about the amazing properties of various testosterone boosting herbs and adaptogens but I was a bit reluctant to try anything ‘pollen-y’ since I grew up very susceptible to pollen allergies.
After giving it some thought (I have been allergy-free for almost a decade) and in the name of experimentation I decided to try it. I ordered a package of Pine Pollen and did an allergy test and was happy to see that I passed the test (No swelling in the mouth or sores of any sort).
I used the herb in both powder and tincture form and I must say I was impressed by the results of the tincture. In just a couple of weeks my mood was better, I was stronger in my workouts, had faster recovery and a daily ‘hello’ from the friend downstairs (always good to see in your 40s).
Below, you will find more details about this herb, its benefits, side effects and the precautions you need to take before using it.
What is Pine Pollen?
As the name suggests, it is the pollen of the pine tree (Pinus sylvestris). The pine tree is famous for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other health benefits.
The pollen is produced near spring and can be found on the trees.
It contains testosterone, DHT, Androsterone and other strong androgenic substances such as phytoandrogens. The interesting part is that these ingredients in pine pollen have a chemical structure similar to the ones found in the human body. It also contains lots of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and is very high in amino acids.
It also contains the following:
- Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6, C, D2 and D3, E, Folic Acid
- Minerals: potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium.
- Amino Acids: (contains over 20 amino acids including the 8 essentials) alanine, aminoacetic acid, arginine,, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, merionin, asparagic acid, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine.
As a herb it has been used mostly in Chinese herbalism for general restorative health, as a blood cell stimulant as well as for strengthening the heart and lungs. Koreans also use it for general health by making it into a tea. In Native American herbalism, the bark part of the pine tree is used as food and as medicine.
However, there is currently no information on its use in Ayurvedic herbalism.
Benefits and properties of Pine Pollen:
- It has powerful androgenic properties due to its content in bio-available androstenedione, testosterone, DHEA and Androsterone as well as Gibberellins and Brassinosteroids.
- The presence of the above phytoandrogens and steroid-like substances results in increasing free testosterone levels. Higher, free testosterone levels are absolutely necessary for maintaining and increasing muscle mass, sustaining a healthy libido and establishing hormonal balance.
- Testosterone can also help with protecting prostate health in men and breast health in women and can help with shedding fat.
- It acts as a powerful antioxidant as it can increase blood levels of superoxide dismutase, increase glutathione levels and remove both internal and external toxins (from the environment).
- It can increase cardiovascular endurance, protect the heart and lower cholesterol levels (by converting it to testosterone).
- It can rejuvenate the brain, hair, bones and the endocrine system. This happens by protecting the kidneys (on top of which the adrenal glands reside) and acting as a general tonic.
- It can stimulate liver regeneration, protect the liver and regulate bile secretion.
- It can support the immune system and the healthy functioning of internal organs (liver, heart and brain) as it can lower lipofuscin levels. Lipofuscin levels tend to go up as we age, causing liver spots on the skin (these are lipofuscin deposits).
- It can help maintain and build new muscle as well as increasing metabolism and therefore stimulate fat loss. This also happens by supporting healthy spleen function.
With all the mention of pine pollen’s androgenic properties (sometimes referred to as steroid-like), women might be reluctant to using pine pollen. This however is not the case as in China it is used by women to promote overall skin health and get a natural glow. Let’s not forget that one of the benefits of androgens is raising growth hormone levels which leads to regeneration of the entire body, thus has anti-aging properties and is linked to the fountain of youth.
There are human studies to support all of the above but unfortunately they are only in Chinese and have not been published in English.
When and how to take it?
As with every herb, there are different ways of taking pine pollen. Each of them has its pros and cons:
Alcohol-based Tincture: This is the best way to take pine pollen as the anabolic ingredients will be absorbed through your mucus membranes and salivary glands in your mouth. The idea is to hold the dose in your mouth (under the tongue) for 1 to 3 minutes until the majority of the androgens are absorbed. Then you can swallow it.
By doing this, all the androgens will make it directly to your bloodstream without being damaged by the G.I tract or the liver. Currently, there is no research to prove that androgens are better absorbed in this way. However, it has been proven that taking androgens (such as DHEA) transdermally or sublingually has displayed a higher bioavailability at lower doses than those taken orally. Higher bioavailability means better absorption and better results (hence the value of alcoholic tinctures).
Tablets: This is another way to go, however you might need 2-3 handful of tablets per day to reach the activating dose plus your digestion tends to degrade the anabolic ingredients. You will still get some of the androgenic properties but not at the same level so I do not recommend it.
Powder: Similar to tablets, it can be effective but you need a higher dose to make it work. There is one way you could try and that is to hold the powder (or tablet) in your mouth for 5 minutes. However, you would have to do this with every dose and that can take time.
There is a study that showed that alcohol consumption has been linked to oral cancer however. However, another study mentions that ethanol itself is not carcinogenic (“the exact pathogenic mechanism responsible for this increase of risk is not known since ethanol per se was not confirmed to be carcinogenic“). Also both studies relates to direct and heavy alcohol consumption and mentions nothing about the use of tinctures.
If you are still concerned about the harmful effects of alcohol to your oral cavity and salivary glands you can take a tincture in a different way that disables the alcohol factor: The tincture can also be taken in a glass of water. Add your dose in the water and then wait a couple of minute for the alcohol to evaporate before drinking the mix. By doing this however, pine pollen has to travel through the G.I tract and liver again and might minimize its effects.
What you can also do is alternate through 2 sources, 1st would be a tincture and the second, in powder or tablet form.
One last note: It is recommended that you get cell wall cracked pine pollen. In this way, the nutrients are activated and released better. However, the tincture process does achieve this to a great degree so as long as you are making tinctures, you do not really have to worry about that.
The best times to take it would be:
- early in the morning,
- before training
- after training
- before bed.
Safety and side effects
While pine pollen does not appear to have any negative side effects, there are a few cases where caution is advised before taking a pine pollen supplement.
You should not take pine pollen if you:
- Are an adolescent or under 30 years of age: This is because in that age, your body is still able to make hormones naturally. Supplementing with a strong androgenic herb that can interfere with healthy hormone levels will result in potentially damaging hormone production for life.
- Have any hormonal problem or medical condition (including but not limited to prostate and liver problems): Check with your doctor before using pine pollen if you have any hormonal problem or medical condition. Your doctor is the only person who can tell you if using it is a good idea or not.
- Are taking blood pressure medication as it can interfere with the dosage.
- Are scheduled for an operation, organ transplant or you just underwent one. Certain ingredients may interfere with the sedation used during surgery or cause rejection of the organ or interfere with healing and cause internal bleeding.
- Have allergies: if you have bee or pollen allergies, you should not use pine pollen as it can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and even death.
The best thing you can do before taking any herb supplement is to test it. If you want to be safe while using herbs I strongly urge you to read my other article on how to test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
What about excessive testosterone production?
Hair growth could be a minor side effect (personally I never had that) and it might be related to the elevated DHT levels that come with androgenic properties.
Another side effect might be prostate enlargement, again, due to the elevated DHT levels but this is easily managed by adding Nettle Root to your regimen. Nettle Root can protect the prostate by binding the sex producing hormone globulin and therefore allowing for more usability of free testosterone in the system.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
Avoid using this herb if you have any medical condition or take any kind of medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Since there are not enough studies to determine the full safety of this herb, pregnant or breast-feeding women should avoid its use.
Use for up to 4 weeks and then take 4 weeks off to allow natural androgen production, avoid homeostasis and to allow for maximum effectiveness of the herb. Repeat cycle after that.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
Pine pollen is an amazing herb that can be found anywhere in spring. It can help you boost testosterone levels and improve your health greatly. I was happy with using it and I do recommend it to anyone with low testosterone.
Have you ever tried Pine Pollen for raising testosterone levels? What protocol did you follow and how did you feel after a week? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to click on the Share button below and show your support to this blog. Until next time live your life: strong, healthy and free!
by Nick Sigma
C.W.C, E.H, E-YRT200
- “The Natural Testosterone Plan” by Stephen Harrod Buhner (Healing Arts Press, 2007)
- Effect of pine pollen on kidney mitochondria DNA deletion mutation in senile mice
- Antiaging effect of pine pollen in human diploid fibroblasts and in a mouse model induced by D-galactose
- Antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity of pine pollen extract in vitro
- Antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities of pine (Pinus densiflora) pollen extract.
- A study on the nutritive value of pollen from the Chinese Masson Pine (Pinus massoniana) and its effect on fecal characteristics in rats
- Vitamin D and its metabolites in the pollen of pine. Part 5: Steroid hormones in the pollen of pine species
- Testosterone, epitestosterone and androstenedione in the pollen of Scotch pine P. silvestris L.
- “Methioninedeficient diet extends mouse lifespan, slows immune and lens aging, alters glucose, T4, IGFI and insulin levels, and increases hepatocyte MIF levels and stress resistance”.