Think of pine pollen as a spice that can add a kick to your day. It's mild taste and dry texture lend itself to many recipes and drinks. Its health benefits as a superfood for are numerous.
In Chinese culture pine pollen powder is added to food as a spice for flavour enhancement. In cups and larger quantities it is used in cultural cakes and especially pastry. In small quantities and teaspoon amounts pine pollen powder can be added to food as a spice for its tonic and adaptogenic qualities.
For pine pollen powder and as an addition to your daily routine of vitamines and minerals 1tsp (1.5) gram/day is a good serving size. At two to three times per day, the grains are so dense with bioactive brassinosteroids and nutrients that most individual will notice adaptogenic results. Some who take the pollen for its anabolic quantities and stamina boosting effects.
On the other extreme those taking the pine pollen as part of a training routine before or after a sport event for recovery may get better result from 3 times the above serving 1 tbsp 3 times a day.
Cautions: Excessive servings of the pollen can have a laxative effect.
Naturopathic Note: Like any superfood, there is a good reason for moderating your pine pollen intake. The body can get used to the bio-active nutrients in pine pollen, as in any other herb or superfood. To avoid getting used to it best to moderate intake. Five-Two is my a rule thumb with Dr. Mushtagh. ND, 5 days on, 2 days off, or 5 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
Extracts are made in order to increase nutritional delivery of certain active molecules. The dual extracted tincture concentrates the bioactive phytoandrogens, antioxidants, polysaccharides, and auxins in a suspended medium. Each 2ml of the tincture delivers 335mg of the pollen. At 2Ml (2-3) times a day the potency of the extract is enough for most individuals.
So far with every food testing we have run for amino-acids, nutrients and vitamines, antioxidants there are identical. But when it comes to taste, smell, colour, and pollen grain size, it is like comparing two variety of apples. We are currently profiling the brassinosteroids in the two variety to have a better undrestanding of subtle chemical difference. Till then, it comes down to personal preference and which resonates with you the most.
Raw, wildcrafted pine pollen is quite safe for regular use. Think of pine pollen as a vegan alternative to royal jelly, only with many other nutrients and multiple times the plant hormones and this should all make sense.
The pine pollen tincture, however, poses a potential risk for a pregnant woman or young child and thus like many other herbs in this age group best be avoided.
There is also a hypothetical risk of taking the tincture too much and long-term; dependence. In the sense that the body will assume it has plenty of the stimulant in the form of plant hormones, and after an initial phase, reduce its own natural hormone regulation. A hypothetical, severe case is called an endocrine system shut down; a scenario that happens in anabolic steroid user. Although this has not been reported with pine pollen, likely because the dose of the androgens is too low compared to prescription drugs.
The pine pollen grain has two cell wall layers. A thin delicate wall of unaltered cellulose called the endospore and a tough resistant outer wall exine. Based on animal studies and depending on pollen kind it is estimated that we can assimilate up to 50-60% of the raw pollen.
There are no reliable studies to show the difference of human digestion of cracked vs live pine pollen cells; the only studies are in test tube and they show that after cracking the cells you get a small increase in solubility of the nutrients; namely 1% increase in the water-solubility of proteins and 15% increase in carbohydrate and a smaller % increase of the minerals.
If anything the outer layer of the pollen is designed by billions of years of evolution to protects the light-sensitive Brassinosteroids (BA) and other growth promoting ingredients like Gibberellins (GA), ABAs from damage by oxidation and light. Considering that cracking will expose these ingredients to air, the small increased digestibility of the sugars and proteins in the cracked cells are offset by the oxidation that comes as a exposure of these substances.
In fact from our experience with working with raw Canadian pine pollen and cracked cell Himalayan pollen, we can attest that the cracked Himalayan cell takes a brownish hue in tincture, which is evidence of oxidation.
There are no listings in anecdotal reports of Pine Pollen powder or tincture interaction, positive or negative. However since pine pollen contains powerful phytoandrogens, those with medical conditions related to sex hormones best consult their naturopathic or medical doctor.