Archive for Author Darlene Jorgens

Pass the Pumpkin Spices, Please!

by Shannyn Caldwell

Pumpkin spice ‘everything’ seems to be everywhere these days. It has been for months and will be for months to come. It’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore.  So let’s get to know this cozy flavor profile a little bit better.

Pumpkin Pie Spice. What are we actually talking about here? Well, once you get past the obligatory scoop of pumpkin, that is where you find the “spice.”

Pumpkin pie spice is a standard blend with many variations that look something like this:

*4 TSP Ground Cinnamon

*2 TSP Ground Ginger

*1 TSP Ground Cloves

*½ TSP Ground Nutmeg

The spices above are a blend of

very powerful medicines indeed!

When combined with pumpkin (an amazing comfort food in and of itself), we are looking at a potentially healing as well as delicious food.

Obviously, if you create a cake, pie, or smoothie of sugar-laden pumpkin spices, you will be working against medicinal properties of the spices, BUT you CAN find and create some very healthy recipes out like custards, pancakes, cookies, lattes, smoothies, and shakes that taste 100% like you are cheating the brains out of your diet.  However, you are really feeding your body healthful nutrients.

Here’s what we know about the healing properties of Pumpkin Pie Spices:

First, they are all warming spices which fight the cold and the damp.  All forms of herbalism (Western, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine) use these spices to balance out cold and damp conditions.

In addition to their warming qualities these spices have actions that go far beyond their mouthwatering scents and flavors.

Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. It can lower blood sugar levels & reduce heart disease risk!

Ginger aids digestion and helps upset stomach.

Clove is incredibly high in antioxidants. One-half teaspoon contains more than one-half cup of blueberries).  There is compelling research pairing clove with cancer and diabetic conditions.

Nutmeg aids an upset stomach and also helps with sleeplessness. It is interesting to consider the new research utilizing nutmeg and its effects on cancer and kidney disease.

So, maybe just maybe, the “Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING” people are onto something.  Hmmm, I think I might go make a latte…

‘Tis the Elderberry Syrup Season!

by Shannyn Caldwell

While the Cold & Flu yells: “It’s our Season.”

Elderberry simply, but firmly, says: “NOPE!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 If you make your way through the Holistic Health Professional, Traditional Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Herbalist  or  Master Herbalist programs at Genesis, you will learn to make tinctures and syrups, teas, tonics, decoctions, poultices, and salves.

Additionally, you’ll learn about essential oils to boost your immune system and teas that will open your lungs and sinuses. You’ll learn about “super-heroes” like Echinacea, and Eucalyptus and where to apply them on the hands and feet to help the body begin to heal itself.

No matter how many tools you collect in your naturopathic tool kit, there will always be a star at the cold/flu season… Elderberry!  “’Tis the season,” as they say, so I thought I would help us along with this wonderful, seemingly magical elixir.

So, elderberry syrup.  What’s all the fuss about?


First…the elderberries themselves:  Elderberries (Sambucus nigra and Sambucus canadensis)


What do we know?   First, we know it’s been around a long time.

Nerd fact: Hippocrates, the “father” of modern medicine wrote about it.  So did Dioscordes who was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of De Materia Medica. So…cool.

In a 1650 medical text elder was translated from Latin to English as the “medicine chest of the common people.”

Elderberry…  The medicine chest of the common people.

What else to we know? The berries themselves are nutrition to an extreme. Flavonoids (obviously…check out that color!) High Vitamin C, A, as well as iron and potassium. They are off the charts as an anti-oxidant.

As far as the honey in the syrup, it has a powerful antiviral as well as a high ‘yummy’ factor!

How about the cinnamon, ginger and clove?  They are warming (take that cold) plus they aid in digestion.  An entirely differently blog could be done just for the power triangle of the goodness of the ginger, cinnamon and clove combination.

I made this basic recipe over the weekend. It was beyond yummy and hopefully our little family will have our healthiest season yet!  Want to try your hand?

Elderberry Syrup

*2/3 C Dried Elderberries

*3 ½ C Pure Water

*2 TBSP Ginger Root

*1 Cinnamon Stick

*1/2 TSP Clove

*1 C Raw, Unfiltered, No Additives Honey

(Note: I use all organic ingredients. It is advisable not to mix toxins with medicinals.)



Pour water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and clove into medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat. Reduce liquid by about half. It will take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes. The time will vary. So just watch it closely.

Once the syrup is reduced by ½, remove it from the heat. Cool slightly, then strain into a glass bowl.

Next, when the liquid is cooled to luke warm, add the honey and stir until it is incorporated.

Pour into a 16 oz jar.

Your syrup will last several months in the refrigerator.



Adults: 1 TBSP & Children: 1 TSP

Take daily as a preventive during cold and flu season.  At first sign of a cold, the dose can be raised to as much as 1 TBSP per hour for adults and 1 TSP per hour for children*.

*Infants under one year old should not ingest honey as their digestive systems are not yet sufficiently developed.

Last but not least, here’s some good news…  Elderberry syrup is so tasty that it’s one medicine you won’t have a fight get into their happy, healthy tummies!­­­

How to Begin Your Herbal Quick Reference Project

Imagine yourself, a new herbal professional just getting started with clients and you suddenly can’t recall which herb pairs with milk thistle to support the liver, or you are finishing up with one client and have another one waiting and you know the name of the herb you want to use but it slips your mind with the added pressure of knowing someone is waiting for you.  What do you do?  What is available to help you quickly browse through the actions of the herbs in your apothecary?  Oh yes of course, grab the Herbal Quick Reference!

This is YOUR Herbal Reference List! It is a project intended for each Genesis School of Natural Health student to begin thinking about in Phase One, actively start working on in Phase Two, and finish up prior to the completion of studies.




As you are progressing through your courses some herbs will “POP” out at you.  Perhaps you are already using or interested in a few.  Begin the project by writing down their common name.



Next you will want to collect the binomial names of the herb you want to study.  The binomial name is a Latin name used for scientific plant identification.  It is broken down into two-parts, the first is a general name called the “genus”.  This name can be shared by a number of plants.  The second name is called the “species”.  This refers to the individual plant.  When written, the binomial names are usually italicized the genus being capitalized and the species all lower case.

Familiarity with the binomial name of a plant is very important to make sure we have selected the exact herb intended to use for a condition.  For instance,

Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) is the lavender species most grown and most preferred by herbalists for its soothing action. Other hybrids of lavender (often called “lavender,” too), like lavandin Lavandula intermedia (Emeric ex Loisel.), may contain differing constituent profiles and can be stimulating, rather than relaxing. Without the proper Latin name, you can be in for a surprise and end up wide-awake rather than sleepy. So if you want to chill out, get yourself some L. angustifiolia.”1



You will then want to add the primary action(s) of the herb in parenthesis.  The action of an herb is the job that it does in the body.  An herb that is alterative is supportive of homeostasis.  Alteratives will help restore proper function, elimination of waste, and restore health and vitality.

If you don’t know the herbal action right away, don’t worry, you can fill it in later.  As you progress through  your studies you will have access to materials that provide this information.


Next you will want to add the temperature and taste of the herb after the herbal action in parenthesis.

The temperature of an herb is what TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) refers to as the herb’s Qi or nature.  (To gain a basic understanding of the concept of Qi refer to the blog:  Qi According to Me.)

“The way that an herb acts within the body—and hence its therapeutic effect—is determined by its temperature, its taste and the channels/meridians that it enters. An herb’s temperature is classified as hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold.   In line with common sense, cool and cold herbs are used to treat hot conditions, while warm and hot herbs are used to treat cold conditions.”2

Remember, the nature (temperature) and taste of herbs are not separate properties but are both considered together when selecting herbs.

There are seven tastes—sweet, salty, astringent, sour (which can also be astringent), bitter, acrid (sometimes referred to as pungent or spicy), and bland (which in TCM doesn’t mean without taste, rather it means natural, unspoiled, or pure.)  The taste of an herb is an important indicator of its action in the body.  Bitter tastes, for instance, have been known to affect appetite, weight loss, and digestion for thousands of years.  However, the bitter must be tasted to be effective.  It is the body’s response to the bitter taste of the herb that triggers the the secretion of digestive enzymes in the upper abdomen, aiding digestion.

“Regular exposure to bitter foods in our diet helps promote healthy regeneration of intestinal flora by improving the intestinal environment and disrupting pathogenic germs. These intestinal changes improve the efficiency of our liver, pancreas, and small intestines.”3

Another wonderful herb for circulation is Cayenne.  However, the stimulation of the circulatory system begins with the taste of the herb.  Taste! One of our five physical senses that has been “under-understood” in terms of health in our modern culture.



Here is where you get to list the amazing things that the herb can do.  It is difficult (believe me) to keep this concise, but you will need to for your useful, easy-to-read “quick” reference.  Don’t worry, you will have your reference library and ‘Google’ to fall back on when further study is needed.  Now for those of you on the other extreme, the example here has a good amount of informative text, stretch yourself!



Be sure to add herbs under each of the Body System headings listed on page 2 of the Herbal Reference Project guidelines accessed in the Student Portal.  You will want to create a well-rounded list for your apothecary containing herbs that offer support to all the body systems and also remedies for many common illnesses.Please go ahead and include the herbs and text listed in the Herbal Reference Project guide.  They are there as examples for you and are also recommended, commonly used herbs that you will need to know and want to use.  This alone will get you off to a good start on your project!


Formatting Helps:

  • Use a spreadsheet program similar to Excel or Numbers, or create a table in a Word-type document.
  • Portrait or Landscape orientation (Whatever works for you as this is easily changed.)
  • Use a clear, easy-to-read text and add bold highlights to things you really want to catch your attention, like the common name of each herb.


Herbal Reference Project DON’Ts:

  • Don’t include too many herbs to start this project. Remember, you won’t be starting out with 200+ herbs in your apothecary.  Maybe someday it will grow to that, but certainly not in the beginning of your career.
  • Don’t make the project a bigger deal than what it is. I wasted so much time trying to include every herb and every bit of information I could find, that I completely missed the point about it being a “quick” reference.  I submitted my scaled-down version in the end and that was still way over-the-top!


Herbal Reference Project DOs:

  • Start with approximately 40+/- You can always add more later on. Your project will grow along with your collection of herbs. J
  • Use the herbs listed in the Herbal Reference Project guide (located in the Student Portal.) Think of it as a ‘freebie’ to get you started!
  • While this is not a requirement for submitting the project, you will find it helpful to be in the process of trying the herbs you will be using on others to experience how they work. (See: The Experiential Herbalist)
  • Learn & Have Fun!





Products from the Hive – Part III: BEEBREAD

Beebread!  Who knew?  With a name like that it’s not hard to imagine all those little honey bees scurrying around the kitchen wearing their teeny-tiny aprons and their teeny-tiny Toqués.  Yes.  While that is easy to imagine, it is slightly more difficult to shake that image from one’s mind and come back to reality.

Of all the products of the hive, beebread is the least explored and possibly one of the most valuable nutritionally.  Also referred to as “Ambrosia,” which means the food of the gods, or “Perga” translated “tower.”  The terminology denotes the strengthening effect of beebread as it is utilized by the body.

The Roman army was known to have beekeepers accompany them into war.  The products of the hive were tantamount to the well-being of the soldiers.  Honey was used for packing wounds, beebread for strengthening, and other hive products were utilized for the benefit the troops.

Honeycomb & Beebread Pellets

So what exactly is beebread?  Beebread is lacto-fermented honey bee food made from honey or nectar and pollen mixed with enzymes and lactic acid bacteria which live in their honey stomach(2) and are applied through the bees “saliva.” These enzymes prevent the pollen from germinating.  The raw beebread is tightly packed into honeycomb cells and capped off by worker bees.  Then it is allowed to ferment.  This fermenting process is what takes a “superfood” like plain ol’ pollen granules and transforms it into a substance commonly known as Ambrosia thousands of years ago.

If you’ve ever wondered what it was that makes a tiny little insect have so much energy to perform what would seem like an insurmountable task, this is it.  Worker bees don’t generally consume pollen when it’s fresh.  Fresh pollen is used to feed larvae.  Worker bees eat this fermented beebread, especially during the time they overwinter in the hive.  They fill each honeycomb cell about two-thirds with pollen, then put a layer of honey over it and cap it off with beeswax to make it airtight.  This begins the process of fermentation.  The end result is a product with three times the bio-availability of bee pollen granules.  One might think of bee bread as the “yogurt” of bees.  Without it they cannot secrete two other bee products: royal jelly and wax.1  You might say that beebread is what keeps the hive “buzzin’!”

Interesting things happen as a result of the honey/pollen lacto-fermentation.  Fresh pollen, which has a limited shelf life before it goes rancid or molds, is transformed into a product that has an indefinite shelf life like that of honey.  The end product is rendered much more digestible and even though the protein content is lower than pollen, the bioavailability of the protein is dramatically increased to 63 percent.(3) The fermentation process predigests the proteins into amino acids which are then found to be higher than that of pollen.  The acidity of beebread is also high, which helps it to be easily absorbed.  Another thing that happens is now, voilà, Vitamin K is present where it did not exist previously in either the honey or pollen products.  Fermentation seems to “unlock” the minerals bound tightly within the cellulose covering of the pollen seeds in the granules.4 The end result is a food three times higher in its nutritional and antimicrobial content which is also a good source of unsaturated fatty acids.  “Beebread has a large variety of minerals and has high quantities of iron, cobalt, phosphorus, calcium. It is one of the richest natural foods containing selenium. Beebread is also an excellent source of potassium and B-group vitamins.”5 For those with allergies to bee pollen it would be good to note that allergies to fermented beebread are extremely rare.6

So how does one obtain beebread?  Well, beebread is often gathered by the beekeeper as whole comb, then harvested with a scraper and placed in a jar.  They are dried and look like little multi-colored pellets, the size of a cell of a honeycomb where it was packed by the bee.  With modern beekeeping methods it is difficult to harvest bee bread directly from the hive as much of the comb would be destroyed.  Pollen granule collectors which are placed outside the hive, make it easier for beekeepers as they do not need to enter the hive and disturb the bees.  Therefore, fresh pollen is more frequently available for purchase.

Fermented beebread is not difficult to make, so with that in mind here’s a recipe that will help us on our way!


Beebread Recipe

By Reyah Carlson, Apitherapist

  • 2-1/2 Parts Raw Honey
  • 1 Part Fresh Pollen Granules (always use fresh pollen or pollen immediately frozen at harvest)


Into a sterilized wide-mouthed canning jar, pour a layer of honey, then a layer of fresh pollen granules, then honey, pollen, and so forth.  Finish with a honey layer at least one to two inches from the top of the jar.  Place a double layer of waxed paper over the opening between the honey and the lid and set the lid on top and screw on the band.  Next, quickly take a picture because the layers disappear quickly and it does look pretty.

The layering helps the pollen dissolve into the honey quickly.  It doesn’t have to be perfect. (What a great opportunity for kids.) Then turn your jar over for the first time.  Put it is a spot where it gets flipped whenever you walk by, at least several times a day for two weeks or longer.  If the room is on the cooler side, the fermentation process will take longer.  Almost all of the pollen granules will be dissolved.

If you like, once the fermentation process is complete you can top off the jar with honey to thin the product a bit, replace the lid and continue to flip the jar for another day or two.  Then decant into smaller jars.  Please don’t use plastic when fermenting the beebread.  Chemicals will leach into your final product.

Do Not Refrigerate!  Keep beebread at room temperature!

Dose:  If you’re new to taking pollen granules or beebread, adults can start off with 1/4 teaspoon twice a day at breakfast and lunch.  Increase slowly until you’re at the desired amount.  Gradually increase the dose from ¼ to 1 or even 2 Tsp daily in the AM.  Do not give beebread to any child under one year of age.


Once accustomed to the flavor of bee products, most people find beebread delicious plain.  However, if you’re the adventurous type and would like to experiment with adding flavors, decant your beebread into several smaller jars.  (Take care to never, add herbs or spices to beebread before it has completely fermented.  They are powerful in action and can stop the fermentation process leaving you with an undesirable product.)

Try stirring in some ground cinnamon or a cinnamon and clove combination.  How about another jar with cayenne, or even cinnamon and cayenne for that ‘red hot cinnamon gummi bear’ flavor?  Maybe a citrusy jar with grated orange and lemon peel, or vanilla bean, or a star anise and vanilla combination (just mouthwatering.)  …And for a walk on the savory side how about rosemary or dill?  Then there’s spearmint, lavender, ginger, cacao (oh my!)…  The ideas are endless.

Bee-Healthy Salad Dressing

How about this. Mix a couple of tablespoons of plain or savory beebread with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar.  Stir in some garlic powder, Italian seasonings, and a pinch of sea salt for an easy, healthy, tasty, salad dressing.  Perhaps you will share your beebread culinary creations with us in the comments below!

Beebread is not only yummy and good to eat, it can be incorporated into a beauty routine as a nourishing facial mask.  Here is a recipe you can customize and have fun with.  It can help smooth wrinkles, tone, and moisturize.


Due to the large amount of selenium in beebread, it is a good natural food choice to assist those undergoing chemo and radiation.  Selenium boosts red blood cell (RBC) production while RBCs are destroyed by chemo and radiation.

It may also be beneficial for those with digestive and hepatic system illness as well as disorders of the urinary and prostate, male infertility, muscle weakness and wasting, congestive heart failure, cancer, asthma, IBS, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Beebread is known to lower cholesterol and benefit atherosclerosis.7


Bee-Kissed Facial Mask

  • 1-2 TSPS Honey
  • 1 TSP Beebread
  • 1 DROP Lavender Essential Oil
  • Add: Water, Green Tea, or other herbal decoction of your choice*

Directions:  In a small glass bowl mix the honey and beebread together.  Add your essential oil, then carefully, one drop at a time with an eyedropper or pip, add your herbal decoction until your mask is the desired consistency.  You want a thicker mixture that won’t drip off of your face.  *Remember, should you choose to increase the moisture content any leftover mask will only last a few days and must be refrigerated.

How to Apply:  On a freshly washed face and neck, apply the Bee-Kissed Facial Mask and allow to set for 20-30 minutes.  Rinse with warm water.


Bee-U-T-Full Hair Conditioner

  • 2 TBSPS Beebread
  • 4-6 DROPS Rosemary Essential Oil, or essential oil(s) of your choice
  • 4 CUPS Herbal Infusion. Use any one or combination of herbs (chamomile, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, etc.)

Directions:  In a plastic quart bottle add your infusion after it has cooled until about 2 inches from the top.   Add the Beebread and the essential oils, then shake well until the beebread is dissolved and the essential oils are disbursed.

How to Apply:  This homemade conditioner can be used each time you wash your hair.   Shake conditioner well, then massage through hair after washing.  Allow conditioner to set for 3-5 minutes, then rinse well with warm water.




1 The American Apitherapy Society Inc. (from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)

2 The Lactic Acid Bacteria Involved in the Production of Bee Pollen and Bee Bread

3 Pollen Diversity of Bee Bread is Linked to Its Nutrient Content

4 Bee Bread & The Truth About Bee Pollen


6 (taken from Krell, R.,“Value-Added Products from Bee-Keeping,”  FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin #124, 1996)

7 Beebread


Products from the Hive – Part II: POLLEN

Pollen is the male seed of the plant located in the flower which is required for fertilization and subsequent seed development.  It consists of a minute particle of 50/1.000-millimeter corpuscles which form at the free end of the stamen.  Every flower has pollen and this pollen provides about 40% of the nutritional needs of young bees.

Honey bees practice ‘flower fidelity’ as they only visit one type of flower with each trip from the hive.  This is awesome for pollination!  She (all honey bee workers are sterile females) lands on a flower and begins to moisten the dry pollen with her mouth using nectar carried from the hive in one of her two stomachs.  Each pollen granule has between four and ten million grains of pollen.  Next, the moistened pollen is packed into the “pollen baskets”, the corbiculae (stiff hairs), of her hind legs.  Typically, dry pollen particles stick to the worker bee’s body and catch a ride to the next flower.  In this manner pollination occurs as the bee lands on flower after flower.

Upon her return to the hive, the worker bee locates a single cell in the honeycomb and scrapes off all of the pellets from her hind legs.  Then she grooms all the pollen from her body with her front legs.  Takes a sip of nectar from another bee whose job is to work in the hive and then leaves the hive in search of more pollen.  Following her departure, the hive worker bee will then add enzymes to the pollen whilst packing the pellets tightly into the cell. 1

Pollen is used to feed baby worker bees and is the only protein source for the honey bee colony. The pollen that is stored during the warm months are used during late winter/early spring to feed the first brood (baby bees) that are hatched out after a long winter.  Without enough pollen during this critical time, whole colonies of bees can die from starvation even if there are adequate stores of honey.

About 22.7% of pollen is protein.  It also contains all of the essential amino acids (10.4%) such as: methionine, lysine, threonine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan which are highly bio-available to the body.  It is one of the main sources of dietary protein for bees in the form of beebread a substance which we will discuss in the next blog in this series entitled: “Products from the Hive Series – Part III:  Beebread.”

A veritable SUPERFOOD!!

As a popular energy-enhancing nutritional supplement, pollen is not only high in protein, a complete protein as it contains all the essential and even most non-essential amino acids.  Also, this protein has been predigested by the bees so it is very easy for the body to digest and assimilate.  There are also vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals, however, the quantity of bioavailable Vitamin B12 varies greatly by location and should not be assumed to be in high enough quantity for a human.

“According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia:

‘Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”2

Note:  Rutin is a powerfully antioxidant bioflavinoid that helps the body produce collagen and utilize Vitamin C.

“Pollen is a good source of enzymes and co-enzymes [over 5,000 different types of live enzymes have been identified] and also has the highest anti-oxidant activity, as measured by the ORAC index, of any fruit or vegetable.  Because of its nutrient density, one to two teaspoons of pollen is equivalent to a serving of vegetables.  Therefore, supplementing your diet with bee pollen is a great way to significantly improve your nutrient intake.”3  This being said, pollen does not contain the correct proportion of nutrients required by humans to use as a sole food source for an extended period of time.  Thus, while it is beneficial as a supplement, it remains only the “perfect food” for bees!

Medicinal Uses of Pollen

‘‘Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of the lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.”

~ Hippocrates

The application of pollen ointment has also been found to prevent “infection of the newly formed tissue” in the healing of burn wounds.4 Another study found a combination of honey and pollen to be gastroprotective in its action toward gastric ulcers.5

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pollen is considered a nutritive and energy tonic. It has been used for centuries to improve endurance and vitality, extend longevity, and to promote weight gain during convalescence.  “The amino acid phenylalanine is responsible for pollen’s weight regulatory effects. Whether a person is over- or under-weight, bee pollen helps normalize weight.”6 It also contains lecithin which assists in weight loss (reduces cravings and addictions), Alzheimer’s-related memory decline, gallbladder problems and arthritis.  The triterpene bonds may also have an effect of preventing the development of insulin resistance and normalizing the blood glucose of diabetics as well as strong antioxidant activity beneficial in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, embryopathy, neuropathy or impaired wound healing.7

Pollen grains from different plants, 3D illustration. They are factors causing hay fever and allergic rhinitis.                                                                                               Copyright: drmicrobe / 123RF Stock Photo


Pollen is a wonderful “blood-builder” as it decreases the oxidation of both red and white blood cells and increases hemoglobin.

Not long ago, a client contacted me for a recommendation on a horse diagnosed with anemia.  After only two weeks on pollen the mare was feeling well enough to show again (with a double pollen dose the morning of the event for a little extra energy.)  She performed great for her owners.  When I followed up, the trainer exclaimed that the pollen worked great and that after the first couple of days the horse’s allergies went away too.  Pollen was the best choice.

It gives one cause to wonder if pollen’s ability to build healthy blood might actually be a greater contributor to the lessening of seasonal allergies and hay fever than the “immunizing” effect it is theorized to have.  Most people are allergic to wind-borne pollens such as grasses, while the pollens that honey bees collect are not of the wind-borne type, rather, they are from plants that require insect pollinators.“There is a rapidly increasing body of scientific evidence which shows that pollen has a variety of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-arthritic properties.  Its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties, as well as its immune system normalizing phytochemicals, allows bee pollen to be used therapeutically to decrease symptoms in people who have hay fever and pollen sensitivities.  This is done through oral administration and is analogous to the way allergists treat people with desensitization injections. The therapy consists of giving a patient tiny amounts of a substance that a person is allergic to, and slowly increasing the amount over time.

Pollen has been reported to be useful in many other medical conditions including: varicose veins, high cholesterol and triglycerides, fatigue, infertility, impotence, anorexia, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, hypertension, prostatitis, depression, scar formation, and recovery from illness and surgery.  Pollen is compatible with other therapies, it can be used long term, has no toxicity even at high doses for those who are not sensitive or allergic, and is safe to take as a supplement during pregnancy.”3 In fact, one of the most important use of pollen is for its curative activity in prostate disorders.

“Pollen also has a multitude of other effects, including strengthening the body against viral infections, relieving fatigue, assisting in the treatment of asthma, improving concentration, and skin problems. It can also help women with painful menstrual cramps or menopausal women with hot flashes. It can relieve headaches and heart palpitations. As well, pollen can increase sexual potency, fertility, and especially benefits the prostate. Regulation of colon problems is another one of its uses, as is a diuretic action of the kidney and bladder. There is even anecdotal evidence of pollen’s effectiveness for children with attention deficit disorder (ADD).”8

“The United States Department of Agriculture conducted a research experiment which suggests that bee pollen even has anti-cancer properties. The conclusion of the project states that “the ingestion of pollenized food delayed the onset of mammary tumors.” William Robinson who headed the study found that the cancer cellular growth rate slowed to about half the original rate in mice, while an Austrian report also found bee pollen to be helpful in reducing symptoms of radiation sickness in patients treated by radiation for cervical cancer.”9

“Because bee pollen is concentrated flower pollen, there is some theoretical concern about its use by people who have pollen allergies, though in practice there seems to be a big difference between the effects of inhaled and ingested pollens.  …Theoretically as well, it would seem that pollens ingested might work to desensitize people who are environmentally allergic…”10

How to Take Bee Pollen Granules

If you’ve never taken bee pollen granules before, test your tolerance with a small amount and work up slowly to a full daily dose.

To begin, take one granule the first day and place it under your tongue to dissolve completely.  If you experience no reaction, double the amount of granules for your second dose on day two.  Continue increasing in this manner as long as you show no allergic symptoms.  (See chart below.)

Should you experience mild allergic symptoms such as runny nose, itchy throat, mild headache, sweating, tearing of the eyes, stomach or bowel distress, or respiratory issues, stop taking pollen for a few days, then start again at the lowest dose that does not cause symptoms.  Stay at that dose for an entire week this time, then build up slowly, increasing only one dose per week perhaps.  Do not rush this process.  Take as long as you need.

If you have a severe reaction, please contact a health professional before taking pollen again in this manner.  If you experience anaphylaxis immediately dial 911 and discontinue pollen use altogether.

Warning: Do not begin taking pollen during the time you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Bee pollen can interact with warfarin and other blood thinners so anyone taking these medications is advised to consult with their physician before ingesting honey bee pollen.

Adult dose – up to two TBSPS daily ~ Child dose – up to two TSPs per day

Note:  Keep pollen granules refrigerated.  Freeze for long-term storage.  Bee pollen does not freeze so it can be eaten directly from freezer. Do not leave unrefrigerated for extended periods of time.

Pollen can be consumed by itself or with food.  It can be sprinkled on a salad or oatmeal that has cooled a bit, mixed right into salad dressing, yogurt, and smoothie, whatever you like.  I add pollen into a chia/gelatin/cinnamon/almond milk “pudding” that I make.  Just remember not to put it on foods that have not cooled to near 104 degrees.  Heat causes a rapid degradation of nutrients and enzymes.  Pollen is even delicious plain (just how the bees eat it) at around room temperature.

Does bee pollen need to be soaked because each pollen grain corpuscle is encased in a protective barrier to protect the male seed from UV rays and the elements?

Well, yes and no.  While there is a doctor who is claims to have studied this and found that absorption was increased dramatically (from 7-12% to +-90%)11 by soaking the pollen overnight for 12 hours.  This research is not presently available and there seems to be an unfortunate lack corroborating research.  In spite of this, you might consider soaking bee pollen if you are not getting the results you desire such as increased energy and vitality.

Anyone with known digestive disorders such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, IBS, bloating, etc., may want to consider soaking their pollen.  I enjoy putting my daily dose of pollen in a little glass of almond milk.  Within about 30 minutes most of the pollen has dissolved and I have a thicker, slightly sweet yellow/orange “pollen milk” that I enjoy.  Bee creative and comment about ways you like to eat pollen below!

There is another method of making pollen more bio-available…  Bee sure to ‘tune in’ for the buzz in part three of our series on honeybee products called: “Bee Bread!”

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3 (from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)



6, 8, 9


10 Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Hass, MD







Heavens to Betsy! Liquid Laundry Soap

Author: Shannyn Caldwell, Student ~ Genesis School of Natural Health

I got super tired of spending my family’s hard-earned coin on garbage detergent and so I did some digging and came up with this heavenly spin on a Pinterest money saving fave!

I hacked the recipe because I couldn’t find washing soda in my dear home town, so I learned to make it and felt it was only fair to spill the beans on how!

So, dear diva, you should know that washing soda can be made easily from baking soda. All you do is cover a cookie sheet with plain ‘ol baking soda and…bake it! Go figure! About 20 minutes at 400 does the trick. You’ll see. It changes…gets softer, less composed.  That done, you’re off to the organic/fair trade/money saving races!

Here’s the recipe I used: 

  • Whisk 1/2 cup washing soda with 1/4 cup borax. Add 1 cup boiling water.
  • Stir in 1 TBSP Castile soap (I used peppermint because it’s what we had on hand), 1/4 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oil. (I used lemon and peppermint.)
  • Pour into an empty and clean gallon jug and top with hot water!

BOOM! Mom win!

1/4 Cup takes care of 1 large load!

If you try it, let me know how it turns out in the comments! If you’ve got questions, ask away! Bless your sparkly clean socks off for reading and sharing. I hope you have fun rocking your laundry!