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Chinese Bee Pollen Side Effects: Should You Be Concerned?

Updated on August 23, 2012

Bee pollen has a history of use in Chinese traditional medicine. It is considered a strengthening food, along with oxtail and chicken soups, royal jelly, rattlesnake and angelica. All these foods are classified as yang, or hot, and are believed to encourage safe wound healing and and healthy blood circulation. While bee pollen isn't a major part of Chinese medicine, it has been used for a very long time.

Is Chinese Pollen Safe?

Because of this historical link, it may seem sensible to choose bee pollen supplements from Chinese sources if you are interested in this substance's potential health benefits. Unfortunately, poor regulation in China and little producer oversight means that it's hard to tell which Chinese-sourced pollen is safe and of good quality and which contains harmful toxic substances. Consuming contaminated products could lead to a number of Chinese bee pollen side effects that could entirely counteract any health benefits you might normally get from the product.


China is among the biggest producers of honey and bee-related products in the world. As of 2010, this country was responsible for nearly 400,000 metric tons of honey alone, more than 20,000 metric tons of wax, and an unmeasured amount of pollen. China's many active hives make it a great producer of pollen, since its bees are responsible for pollinating the many acres of agricultural land that supply its food and export needs.

Unfortunately, Chinese regulations on pesticide use in farming and on chemicals in manufacturing are relatively lax. That means that the bees responsible for pollinating the trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables of this country are often exposed to dangerous materials like antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides and other health-damaging substances. These materials make it into the honey and pollen produced by those bees.

Further contaminants are often introduced during the poorly-regulated manufacturing process, creating a product that could hurt your health. These may be added accidentally through contact with machinery or other products, or they may be deliberately introduced by manufacturers who don't need to follow quality and purity standards. That doesn't mean that every bee pollen product from China is poisonous; it just makes it hard to tell the bad ones from the good ones.

Potential Chinese Bee Pollen Side Effects

If you've already purchased Chinese bee pollen, you may be worried about whether you will suffer side effects from using it. The answer depends on the individual product. If you feel feverish, suffer from frequent urination, dehydration or sudden severe weight loss, your bee pollen product may have extra diuretic drugs in it designed to promote unrealistic weight loss. Less obvious side effects of this substance can include loss of vitamins and electrolytes.

Other toxic effects, such as those related to pesticide poisoning, include weakness, a dizzy feeling, fatigue and headache, restlessness and nervousness, and extra perspiration. Some people also get sore joints, feel very thirsty, find that they don't want food, or suffer from digestive problems. Generally speaking, if your bee pollen supplement seems to make you feel more tired rather than more energetic, you may have received a contaminated product. Discontinue use of the supplement and see your doctor right away.

Chinese bee pollen supplements aren't necessarily dangerous, but it can be hard to tell the quality products from those made with less care. China isn't the only source of unhealthy bee pollen, either; any company that uses pollen from pesticide-sprayed fields or other potentially-contaminated sources could be dangerous. Look for a supplement that fully discloses the source of its pollen and its manufacturing process to ensure that your health food is truly safe.


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    • Bopi-Cheppu profile image

      Bopi-Cheppu 5 years ago from San Antonio, TX, U.S.A

      raj2006, another interesting hub from you. We know natural products are one of the best source to look for and develop novel drugs for treating various diseases. I agree with you that use of any natural products as medicine is not safe unless it is proved with the use of modern day standardized pharmacological procedures and clinical trials.