The Top 5 Health Benefits of Pine Pollen Extract
Updated: June 1, 2021.
Read Time: 8 minutes
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Pine Pollen Extract
At first glance, pine pollen may seem too commonplace to be a nutritional powerhouse. There are millions upon millions of pine trees throughout the northern hemisphere. Is nature really that generous with a superfood?
The short answer: yes!
For two thousand years, pine pollen has been a longevity tonic in traditional Chinese medicine. The golden powder is a "micronutrient storeroom," rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and flavonoids (1).
What is Pine Pollen?
So what makes this pollen a superfood?
It starts with pinecones. Pine trees have male and female pinecones. Male cones create pollen, which will travel on the wind to find and fertilize female cones. Fertilized female cones will germinate and grow into trees.
The golden pollen is a cocktail of vitality. This is because each mote must be potent enough to fertilize and stimulate the growth of a whole new tree.
Pine pollen cells are called "micronutrient storerooms" because they contain concentrated growth stimulants. They also carry the tree's fertilizing agent.
According to laboratory studies, pine pollen contains:
- Amino Acids
- Vitamins B & E
What are the benefits of those difficult-to-pronounce compounds, you ask? Let's dive deeper!
Pine Pollen Benefits
According to traditional Chinese medicine, pine pollen was used for millennia to promote a long and healthy life.
Considered both a food and a medicine, pine pollen was traditionally used in the treatment of fatigue, viruses, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and prostate diseases (1). Pine pollen was prepared in extracts and tinctures, and the powder was cooked into foods.
Scientific curiosity in pine pollen is only now catching up with tradition's fascination. So far, most studies have been conducted in vitro or on non-human mammals.
Many bioactive nutrients have been identified in pine pollen. Studies on these nutrients derived from other sources show them supporting immune response, stress recovery, endocrine function, and libido.
Here are the top five pine pollen benefits:
- Supports the Immune System
- Supports Recovery from Stress
- Supports Hormonal Balance
- Supports Healthy Testosterone
- Supports Healthy Libido
Read on to learn how this nutritious, wild pollen supports health.
1. Pine Pollen Supports the Immune System
As we already learned, pine pollen contains powerful growth stimulants and nutrients. These plant steroids help the fertilized pine seeds germinate and thrive in a competitive ecosystem. They are powerful food for humans, too.
The brassinosteroids, gibberellins, and polysaccharides in natural pine pollen have immune-activating properties (6).
Brassinosteroids are plant steroids that help seedlings develop (3). They are similar to naturally-occurring animal steroids and have been shown to be biologically active in mammals. Brassinosteroids have been shown to have antiviral properties and to stimulate the immune systems of mice (4).
Polysaccharides are long-chain carbohydrates that give plants strength and structure (7). One special polysaccharide, arabinogalactan, is abundant in the pine family and in wild-harvested pine pollen (6, 8).
2. Pine Pollen Supports Recovery from Stress
Let's face it. Stress is a given. None of us grows tougher, stronger, or more resilient by ignoring the signs of stress in our bodies.
But if we listen to the signals our bodies' give us, we can become more resilient to stress in the long term!
Stress takes a toll on dopamine levels and immunity by preventing your body from entering rest-and-digest mode. This is one reason chronic stress causes fatigue. Under chronically stressful conditions, the body isn’t able to regulate energy, metabolism, or mood efficiently.
This cycle kept early humans alert to hazards, and motivated them to seek out safe places to eat, rest, and raise families. However, modern life is louder, more fast-paced, and can overstimulate that cycle. For example, studies have shown that some regions of the brain will always feel unsafe driving in a car, triggering the stress response over extended periods (10).
Fortunately, nutrition can support recovery from stress.
Pine pollen contains DHEA and phenylalanine, which individually repair the effects of stress and improve mood (6).
DHEA is a key player in the human endocrine system (6, 13). DHEA contributes to metabolism and to the production of hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Under stress, the adrenals reduce production of DHEA so they can make adrenaline and cortisol instead. Pine pollen may supplement low DHEA caused by frequent or ongoing stressors.
Phenylalanine is an important amino acid that stimulates dopamine in the brain (11, 12). Our neurons need dopamine to fire up pleasure and satisfaction. When dopamine is present, motivation and focus increase as spirits rise.
The natural combination of these two compounds in pine pollen may give a double boost of support for recovery from chronic stress.
3. Pine Pollen Supports Hormonal Balance
Ladies and gentlemen, here is a service announcement that you won't hear often enough. A healthy ratio of testosterone and estrogen is crucial for both women and men.
While testosterone is sometimes referred to as a “male hormone,” women also produce—and need—testosterone. Men typically have more of it, but testosterone is not exclusively male.
In fact, women’s ovaries produce testosterone (16), and women need testosterone to create new blood cells. Menstruating women, of course, must make new blood cells every month.
In women, low testosterone can cause lethargy and muscle weakness, and can affect libido, sexual satisfaction, and mood (17).
In men, low testosterone can cause fatigue, irritability, and insomnia. It can also lead to fragile bones, hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, and reduced libido (18).
On the other hand, estrogen is often referred to as the “female hormone.” However, estrogen plays a critical role in male sexual function also (23).
The presence of—and balance between—both testosterone and estrogen is crucial for male and female health. Excess estrogen in women can cause fatigue, anxiety, restless sleep, and decreased libido. In men, high estrogen can cause infertility, erectile dysfunction, and growth of their breast tissues, a situation known as gynecomastia (19).
Wild pine pollen may help balance depleted testosterone or excess estrogen. This is because pine pollen contains DHEA, testosterone, and the androgen stimulants androsterone and epitestosterone (13).
It's worth repeating that DHEA is one of the key players in the endocrine system. That is because the body converts DHEA into either testosterone or estrogen, depending on what the body needs. Thus, the DHEA in pine pollen supports hormonal balance, whether the body is craving more testosterone or more estrogen.
The natural hormone precursors in pine pollen may contribute to feelings of motivation, will-power, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being.
4. Pine Pollen Supports Healthy Testosterone
I'm not going to make any jokes here. But check out this male pine cone.
Gibberellins, the plant steroids with immune-activating properties, are so structurally similar to testosterone that they bind to testosterone receptors in the human body (6, 21). Thus, they mimic the physiological effects of testosterone to stimulate energy, libido, and sexual performance (6). Gibberellins may even help regulate the prostate, preventing atrophy or reducing an enlarged prostate (6).
The naturally-occurring levels of testosterone, DHEA, and gibberellins in pine pollen tincture can be enough to raise testosterone levels within minutes of consumption (6).
5. Pine Pollen Supports Healthy Libido
It is amazing how synced the human body is with nature.
Pine pollen is the trees' method of making love. Or, well, making little baby trees, at least.
Would you be surprised to learn the compounds that make pine pollen virile enhance human libido too?
Pine pollen is a natural aphrodisiac for both women and men! Since the fine, golden powder will spread in the wind to find its mate, it makes sense that pine pollen is a highly-concentrated cocktail of vitality.
As well as containing testosterone, androgens, and DHEA, pine pollen also contains a rich amino acid profile supporting libido.
Two of these amino acids, phenylalanine and tyrosine, are L-dopa precursors. L-dopa is metabolized into dopamine in both the heart and the brain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I purchase an extract or a powder?
Extracts and tinctures prepare the pollen for digestion and absorption. The pine pollen is soaked in alcohol, hot water, or both. This opens the pollen's cell walls so the gut can absorb the available nutrients. Tinctures typically use only alcohol or only hot water. Our wild-harvested pine pollen dual extract uses both methods for maximum efficiency.
Extracts are concentrated in liquid form, making them easy-to-use and travel-friendly. Extracts can be consumed alone, or added to culinary dishes or beverages.
Packaged powders are often raw and may be added to culinary dishes or blended beverages, like smoothies. Powders can be messy, which sometimes leads to wasted product.
What is the recommended dosage?
Too few medical studies have been conducted to establish an optimal dosage for pine pollen. Labels on supplements will typically suggest the recommended dose to start with. The suggested dose for our 1:3 extract is 1ml, or one dropper-full.
Always talk to your health care provider if you have questions about adding pine pollen to your diet.
Does pine pollen cause side effects?
Too few medical studies have been conducted to establish whether there are side effects. If you have a pine allergy, or are nursing or pregnant, you should not use pine pollen. Children and teens should not use pine pollen. If you have concerns about high testosterone, you should be monitored by a health care professional before and while using pine pollen.
If you have any questions or concerns about using a pine pollen supplement, be sure to discuss them with your health care provider.
Raise Your Spirits—and Plant Trees— with Pine Pollen Extract
The stressors of the modern world take a toll on our bodies. If we feel fatigued, unmotivated, or detached, it’s easy to see why we might lose connection with the people and projects that matter to us. Luckily, our wild bodies know how to get the most out of superfoods like pine pollen extract.
Plus, with every purchase of Wild Kingdom extracts, you heal your connection with the earth by helping to reforest our planet. Every sale from our store donates to One Tree Planted, an organization that shares our mission for sustainability by planting trees worldwide.
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The numbers in parenthesis are click-able links to the sources cited in this article. Stephen Buhner's book, Pine Pollen: Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium, is available at Barnes & Noble. We do not receive any proceeds through these links.