Honey is a nutritional treasure with therapeutic properties that are known throughout the centuries. It is the gift of honeys to mankind.
However there is another bee product that is even more powerful than honey that possesses strong adaptogenic properties. In this article we will be talking about Royal Jelly!
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- 2 About Royal Jelly
- 3 What is Royal Jelly
- 4 Benefits and properties of Royal Jelly
- 5 When and how to take it
- 6 Safety and side effects
- 7 Cycling
- 8 Dosage
- 9 Closing thoughts
Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- Name: Royal Jelly
- Pin Yin: Feng Wang Jiang,
- Latin: Apis mellifera
- Taste: Bitter
- Color: white
- Constitution: Slightly warm (Yang)
- Builds: Jing (yin and yang)
About Royal Jelly
I first tried Royal Jelly when I was just a skinny kid. It was one of the supplements that my father was giving me when I was little thinking that it would help me put on some weight. It did not work for that purpose but I remember being a very active kid.
Coming from Greece, fresh royal jelly and bee products are quite easy to find, inexpensive and of very high quality and freshness. Once I got older, I tried Royal Jelly and could immediately see the difference after 2-3 days in my stamina, vitality, libido, muscular endurance as well as focus and mental performance.
My stress levels were better regulated and so was my sleep. The effects would magnify when I combined it with Ginseng and that’s when I literally felt invincible. It is one of the best supplements, in my opinion, and you can combine it with several other adaptogens and herbs to protect, improve and enhance your health.
I have taken it in elixir form and in fresh paste form and have found both to work equally as well. Below you will find more details about royal jelly, its benefits, side effects and precautions you need to take before using it.
What is Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly is a milky substance produced by nurse bees in the hive and intended for use by the newborn larvae (which grow to full size in only a few days) or for the bee queen. The bee queen is exclusively fed Royal Jelly and because of this, she is able to lay 2000-3000 eggs while outliving the normal bee by years (the normal bee lives only 3-4 months while the queen can live for 4-5 years).
In Ancient China, the use of royal jelly was allowed only by emperors and is very famous in TCM for treating asthenia (weakness) and supporting the immune system.
Royal Jelly contains a plethora of active ingredients such as:
- Royalactin, which helps separate the larvae to either male bees or queen bees.
- Actual testosterone,
- Acetylcholine, a very powerful antioxidant
- Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
- Fatty acids
- Carbs as sugars
- Several minerals
- Vitamins of the B complex and especially Vitamin B5, which is a must for hormonal health.
It has been used in China for over 3000 years and it has the reputation of the ultimate supplement as it can restore the mind, body and spirit and achieve total equilibrium among Jing, Qi and Shen.
The problem with Royal Jelly is that it needs to be refrigerated after being harvested as it can easily go bad. It has a white color and tends to turn white and yellowish over time. When left exposed to high temperature or direct sunlight, it can go rancid and turn black.
One should be very careful when buying Royal Jelly as its freshness determines its potency. The further it strays from its production date, the less bioactive and potent it becomes so make sure you buy fresh royal jelly from trusted local producers who will give you the product in a dark glass jar or even a styrofoam case to keep it cold.
It needs to stay refrigerated or you can add it to high quality, raw, organic honey. Honey lasts forever and when royal jelly is added to it, both can be preserved until time’s end.
Benefits and properties of Royal Jelly
Summarizing the many benefits of Royal Jelly:
- It can enhance and support the immune system and thus help sick people recover faster or healthy people become more active and confident. This may be due to its nutritional content (multiple antioxidants and vitamins) and especially the active compound royalisin, which is responsible for its multiple hormonal health benefits. It also contains multiple antifungal and antibacterial compounds that can attack and kill viruses and bacteria in the body.
- It can promote wound healing as it was shown in one study that it has the potential to heal foot ulcers faster.
- It can also regulate blood sugar levels (by helping with glucose uptake) and can lower total cholesterol levels by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- It can help with hormonal health in both men and women as the cholesterol lowering effect may imply a better conversion of cholesterol to testosterone in men and progesterone in women.
- It has anti-cancer properties as one Japanese study performed on rats showed 45-55% better results in tumor suppression rates and extended their lifespan.
- It can help with fat metabolism as one study showed that the 10-HDA compound can lower lipid per-oxidation which means better fat metabolism.
- Is a powerful antioxidant as the fatty acid 10H2DA it contains was shown to reduce inhibition of the pro-inflammatory NF-kB and IFNγ enzymes.
- It can help with longevity due to its antioxidant properties and because it aids in pituitary gland health as shown in one study.
- It can promote semen motility, increase libido and testosterone in men as shown in several studies. This may a result of either:
a. Helping with pituitary gland health (which also means better HGH production),
b. Allowing for better conversion of DHEA to testosterone via stimulation of the 3β-HSD2 and/or 17β-HSD3 enzymes,
c. Increasing LH levels.
When and how to take it
Tincture: In this way you can extract many of the nutrients found in Royal Jelly. In my experience, most of the tinctures are done in glycerin rather than in alcohol. Hold the dose in your mouth (under the tongue) for 1 to 3 minutes until it gets absorbed. Then you can swallow it.
The tincture can also be taken in a glass of water.
Capsules or Tablets: Royal Jelly can be found in tablets and capsules but they tend to contain a plethora of other ingredients (mostly honey and bee pollen) rather than just royal jelly. There are a few good products out there but I would advise you to be really careful when selecting tablets. Their quality and potency can be of questionable quality while when you buy the original royal jelly; you are able to assess their color.
Fresh Royal Jelly or Powdered Royal Jelly: The best option is to get fresh royal jelly directly from a local producer. The product should be refrigerated and must be consumed in 6 months or added to honey to retain its freshness indefinitely.
You can then take it by either adding the royal jelly-enhanced honey to your food and shakes or take it as is. Never add honey or royal jelly to warm food or warm liquids as they will destroy all of its active nutrients.
Another way to take it is by using a small scoop and putting it under your tongue until it dissolves. This is the best way to take Royal Jelly as the compounds are released directly into the bloodstream and not harmed by the digestive tract.
Some advise taking Royal Jelly on an empty stomach (to activate its potency and also because foods can reduce its potential) while others suggest taking it with foods. I believe it comes down to one’s personal tolerance. If you find that it causes stomach upset, you will be better off taking it with foods otherwise take it on an empty stomach. Another good way it to take it is with honey which gives you the best of both worlds.
The best times to take it would be:
- On an empty stomach in the morning
- Before any kind of physical or mental activity.
Do not take in the evening as it can cause insomnia.
Safety and side effects
You must not take Royal Jelly if you are allergic to bee products. Other than that there are no known side effects and it is safe to take for up to 3 months.
It is not advised to take royal jelly for more than 3 months as abnormalities to internal body organs were observed after long usage in men (study).
You should not take Royal Jelly if you:
- Are allergic to bee products or have asthma as it can be potentially deadly.
- Have low blood pressure or take blood pressure medication as it can interfere with the dose and lower blood pressure even more causing hypoglycemia.
- Have skin conditions or inflamed skin as it can make the condition worse.
- Have any hormonal problem or medical condition including but not limited to cancer, diabetes or undergoing chemo treatment: Check with your doctor before using royal jelly if you have any of the above conditions as only your doctor can determine if using it is a good idea or not.
- Are scheduled for an operation, organ transplant or you just underwent one. Certain ingredients may interfere with the sedation used during surgery, rejection of the organ, interfere with healing and/or cause internal bleeding.
The best thing you can do before taking any herbal 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.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances
Avoid using royal jelly if you have any medical condition or are taking any kind of medication without consulting your doctor first.
Special Precautions & Warnings
Since there are not enough studies performed to determine the full safety of this product, pregnant women or breastfeeding women should avoid using this product.
Because of its potency, cycling is required. Use initially for up to 1 month and then take 4 weeks off. Repeat cycle after that.
You can add 1 extra week to each cycle after that for example:
- Cycle 1: 1 month – 4 weeks off.
- Cycle 2: 5 weeks – 4 weeks off.
- Cycle 3: 6 weeks – 4 weeks off.
- Cycle 4: 7 weeks – 4 weeks off etc.
After 2-3 cycles (6 months), you can potential try taking it for 2 months and then take 4 weeks off again. Never use for more than 3 months in a row as it can cause serious damage to your system (see above).
It is recommended to cycle Royal Jelly to reduce the chance of your system getting accustomed to it, to avoid allergies and to protect the flora of your digestive system (Royal Jelly’s antibacterial compounds can potentially damage it). It is also recommended to use Royal Jelly a maximum of 3 to 4 times each year for the same reasons.
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.
Royal Jelly is a magnificent adaptogen that will support and nourish of all of your bodily systems and functions. It has adaptogenic properties which will protect your stress and give you the required energy to deal with a busy day. Make sure you get fresh royal jelly from a bee keeper as it is very delicate and can easily go bad and lose its properties. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have an energetic and healthy existence.
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by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200
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- Siavash M, et al. The efficacy of topical Royal Jelly on diabetic foot ulcers healing: A case series. J Res Med Sci. (2011).
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- Nihon Yakurigaku Zasshi. Folia Pharmacologica Japonica [1987, 89(2):73-80] .
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- Book: Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, Ron Teeguarden. Paperback – March 1, 2000