Royal Jelly

Scientific names: Produced by the honeybee, Apis mellifera L.

Common names: Royal jelly

Efficacy-safety rating:

ÒÒ...Ethno or other evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...Little exposure or very minor concerns.

What is Royal Jelly?

Royal jelly is a milky-white secretion produced by glands of worker honeybees to induce the superior growth and development of the queen bee. Royal jelly is the principal food of the honeybee queen.

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What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Because of their specialized nutrition, queen bees differ from workers in several ways. The queens are approximately twice the size, they lay approximately 2,000 eggs a day (female worker bees are infertile), and they live 5 to 8 years (approximately 40 times longer than worker bees).

These differences have led to the marketable assumption that ingestion of this product will do as much for humans as it does for bees; that is, increase size, improve fertility, and enhance longevity. In many countries, royal jelly has been promoted widely as a commercially available medicine, health food, and as a cosmetic (as an emollient, moisturizer, and nourishing substance). It is used in traditional medicine for longevity in Europe and Asia. Royal jelly has been sold as a skin tonic and hair growth stimulant.

General uses

Royal jelly has been studied for a variety of actions, including antibiotic, antitumor, lowering blood pressure, and regulating the immune system. Additionally, effects on cholesterol, insulin-like action, and on the nervous system and female hormonal activity have been demonstrated. However, clinical trials are lacking.

What is the recommended dosage?

Clinical trials are generally lacking in the doses recommended. Small clinical trials have used 6 to 10 g royal jelly per day for 14 to 28 days in trials evaluating the effect on cholesterol.

How safe is it?

Contraindications

Contraindications have not been identified. Allergy to bee venom is considered a relative contraindication.

Pregnancy/nursing

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Royal jelly has some effect on female hormonal activity.

Interactions

Case reports of blood in the urine due to increased effect of warfarin have been documented.

Side Effects

In many allergy patients, skin tests were positive for royal jelly. There have been case reports of allergy, increased effects on asthma, hypersensitivity, and death.

Toxicities

Data are limited.

References

  1. Royal Jelly. Review of Natural Products.Facts & Comparisons Online. April 2010. Accessed April 20,2010.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

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