bee-pollenI grew up in densely populated and heavily polluted Southern Ontario. I had multiple allergies and severe eczema. I considered myself to have been a sort of canary for allergens. As an adult I’ve managed to rid myself of the eczema through a reasonably rigid vegetarian, organic diet. The hayfever vanished when I began to ingest small amounts of bee pollen on a daily basis. This is a habit I’ve continued for the ensuing twenty years, I’m proud to say I can stick my nose in any flower today with no ill effect. That’s in comparison to the seven handkerchiefs I needed to use when working on a small farm as a young man in Ontario.

While living in Arizona in the early 1990s I became friends with beekeeper Fred Terry, a pioneer of bee pollen in that part of the world. I helped him collect pollen from his hives and began ingesting pollen in earnest. Fred once lived for 40 days on freshly squeezed orange juice and bee pollen alone. Supervising doctors were amazed to discover Fred’s blood and physical constitution remained perfect throughout the duration of the forty day study period. Pollen is surely one of nature’s wonder foods.

bee-pollen-benefitsPollen is harvested by inserting a pollen trap under the entrance to each hive. The opening is a little small, resulting in the returning worker bees usually dropping one of the two pollen pellets they carry on their legs. The pollen then falls through mesh into the trap. This allows the beekeeper to collect pollen whilst the bees still manage to get half of the pollen they’ve collected into the hive. Due to the loss of some pollen bees are stimulated to fly out for more, resulting in further pollination. Everybody’s happy.

Over the last years I’ve noticed many people borrowing books from the library on beekeeping. It would appear that there are many new bee enthusiasts, often with just one or a few hives. These people are doing us a service, ensuring a healthy population of bees for pollination of our native bush and for our flowers and food plants.

I purchase pollen by the kilo. It is expensive but certainly much more economical than it would be if buying bottles containing small amounts of pollen in capsules.

Ideally, the best pollen to ingest is that which comes from your local area. Thus, one can build up immunity to any local plants that might create allergies.

I challenge beekeepers of the Far North to begin to collect pollen from their hives. With our high humidity, there may be some form of drying necessary. I store pollen in multiple bags in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t take up moisture. And remember, begin to ingest small amounts of pollen daily as you may initially get an allergic reaction.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See