Pine Pollen

  • The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience–they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their curiosity. — FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
  • Oddly, since pine pollen has been used as both medicine and food in China for millennia (the oldest mention is in a text The Pandects of Materia Medica, by Shen Nong, who wrote it during the Han dynasty some 2000 years ago)
  • I have found the tincture to be exceptionally potent, as or more potent than the crushed Chinese material that I have tinctured and used.
  • Tonic, nutritive, adaptogen, androgen, antioxidant (among other things it increases superoxide dismutase levels, aka SOD—a potent antioxidant—in heart, liver and brain), enhances immune function, enhances endocrine function, antinociceptive (reduces sensitivity to pain), anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antitumor cytostatic (kills tumor cells without affecting normal cells), anticholesteremic (lowers cholesterol levels), hepato-tonic (stimulates liver regeneration). Basically: potent overall tonic to the body and its functioning, powerful nutritive, and exceptionally effective androgen which raises testosterone levels in the blood and balances the androgen/estrogen ratio
  • Oddly, given its extensive history in China, research on pine pollen in the West is still in its infancy.
  • The realization that it is a powerful phytoandrogen (that is, a plant that contains testosterone) has probably done the most to stimulate interest in the herb (on the part of mostly male researchers). Its androgenic actions are due to a number of substances in the pollen, not only the testosterone and other male steroids.
  • Pine pollen contains large quantities of sterols, steroid-like substances, that are exceptionally potent. In essence, they are plant steroids.
  • Plant steroids have generated interest in commercial agriculture because their use strongly stimulates plant growth. (This is similar to an athlete taking human steroids to quickly build up muscle tissue—just as with athletes, a lot of unforeseen problems occur later on.) Such plant steroids are often very potent. Brassinolide (only discovered in 1979), is a powerful growth stimulant—as little as one nanogram (a billionth of a gram) applied to a bean sprout can significantly increase its growth. Brassinolide (and other brassinosteroids) is, essentially, testosterone for plants. Basically, its use causes hyper growth in agricultural plants. In general, brassinosteroids are highly active in and essential to plant growth and development. There are over thirty different types of brassinosteroids that have been found so far— many of them are in pine pollen, including three rather potent ones: brassinolide, castasterone, and typhasterol. Interestingly, they are very similar in structure to animal steroid hormones and are highly biologically active. Most types of pollen contain large quantities of them. Because of their potent biological activity in plants, research in recent years has begun to explore the impacts of these kinds of plant steroids on human health and disease. Two forms of the brassinosteroid brassinolide have been found to enhance the function of liver microsomes—these are crucial to the transformation and safe disposal of xenobiotics, that is, foreign chemicals that end up in the body.
  • Brassinosteroids such as brassinolide and castasterone have shown antiviral activity, sometimes of exceptional strength, against a number of viruses. Among them are herpes simplex type one (HSV-1), measles, and arena viruses. They have been found to be ten to eighteen times more potent than ribavirin, the main pharmaceutical antiviral. In vivo studies have found that brassinosteroid compounds prevent HSV-1 in a dose-dependant manner with no cytotoxicity; that is, without damaging effects on healthy cells.
  • Castasterone (followed closely by epibrassinolide) has been found to be the most highly active brassinosteroid against common breast and prostate cancer lines in laboratory studies in micromolar concentrations (i.e., at extremely tiny doses), again without affecting healthy cells. It’s use inhibits cancer cell growth and stops proliferation of cancer cells. The brassinosteroids are considered to be highly novel steroidal compounds with unique anticancer actions while possessing very low toxicity.
  • Early research indicates that brassinosteroids may be effective in the treatment of not only cancer but also Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pine pollen also contains very high concentrations of another family of plant steroids called gibberellins. These are plant hormones that are widely spread throughout the plant world; They possess antitumor activity, have been found to be immunoactivating, and are effective in the treatment of BPH, psoriasis, and herpes simplex 1 and 2.
  • But gibberellins are also stimulating interest because they are structurally very similar to testosterone; so close, in fact, that they bind to testosterone receptors in the human body. The physiological effects of testosterone are therefore mimicked by gibberellins; gibberellins are in essence testosterone mimics and thus androgen-like compounds. Like human androgens, they stimulate growth in both plants and animals. They possess both anabolic- and libido-enhancing activity, act as an adrenal and pituitary tonic, and are considered to be both androgenic and gonadotrophic. Because of their adrenal and pituitary actions, they stimulate androgen production in the body; energy levels increase. Gibberellins help prevent the atrophy that accompanies castration (in rats), which is one of the signs of strong androgenic action. They are present in most pollens at about 1 microgram per gram.
  • Pine pollen is also relatively high in arabinogalactan compound. Arabinogalactan has been generating a lot of interest of late as both an immune-stimulating supplement and as an adjunct in the treatment of cancer.
  • Arabinogalactan is approved as a dietary supplement by the FDA.
  • It is a useful adjunct in the treatment of cancer because of its immune stimulating actions. The polysaccharides of which the compound is composed stimulate the natural killer (NK) cell activity and cytotoxicity, increase gamma interferon production, stimulate general immune responses, and have been found to block metastasis of cancer cells to the liver.
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  • The supplement has been found helpful in chronic fatigue, hepatitis B and C, multiple sclerosis, and lyme disease. It will help to some extent in raising CD4 white blood cell counts which are often lowered in diseases such as AIDS.
  • Much of the excitement surrounding pine pollen is, however, due to the presence of human androgens in the pollen: testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, androsterone, and epitestosterone. These, and the many other androgen stimulants or mimics that are present in pine pollen, make it one of the most potent natural phytoandrogens known
  • Androgens are very potent chemicals. These amounts are enough, when pine pollen is taken by mouth as a tincture, to raise testosterone levels within a few minutes of ingestion.
  • Testosterone levels in the blood tend to peak in mid-morning, in mid-afternoon, and between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. During aging the height of those peaks lowers, sometimes considerably, especially in those who are testosterone compromised. Taking pine pollen tincture upon rising, again at noon, and again before bed will help simulate the body’s normal patterns of testosterone production. Androstenedione, commonly present in pine pollen, is one of two androgens in the body that are converted directly into testosterone, making it a metabolic precursor of testosterone. The body converts DHEA to androstenedione and then converts that (usually) into testosterone or (sometimes) into estrone, an estrogen.
  • While DHEA, again a common androgen in pine pollen, itself is only a mild androgen, it is the precursor for both androstenedione and androstenediol, two of the precursors of testosterone, making it essential for testosterone production. As well, research over the past twenty years has shown that it has significant effects on human health in almost every organ system in the body.
  • During middle age, levels of testosterone and DHEA tend to decline. DHEA levels peak around a man’s twenty-fifth year and then decline by about 2 percent per year. By age eighty blood levels are only at 10–15 percent of that peak. People with levels of DHEA below 100 mcg/dl consistently show higher levels of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Most DHEA is synthesized in the adrenal glands; about 10 percent is made in the testes, while the rest is made in the brain, the heart, and the liver. Because of its synthesis in the brain DHEA is also considered to be a neurosteroid, having potent impacts on the central nervous system and brain function.
  • In vivo studies with mice have found that Chinese pine pollen has a distinctive antifatigue effect, enhances survival times under stress, protects the liver from chemical stressors, including alcohol, reduces cholesterol levels, increases HDL levels while reducing LDL levels, and Other in vivo trials in mice have found pine pollen to reduce sensitivity to pain and to be strongly antiinflammatory.
  • Chinese physicians (TCM) in China, and those who use pine pollen on their direction, regularly report increased vitality, health, reduced impacts of aging, and increased sexual vitality and libido from the use of pine pollen.
  • Users regularly report that use of the tincture results in a near immediate increase in energy, that libido, erection, sexual vitality, and mental alertness all increase with its use over time. Along with regular exercise (this does not mean 3x a week, 30 minute workouts–it means hiking or bicycling or heavy lifting for several hours every day), its use does increase muscle mass and endurance in those past middle age.
  • Chilean researcher Manuel Pederos has found that the pollen from radiate pines contains some fifty amino-acids, twenty-two of which are essential to life as well as all the vitamins necessary for health.
  • Pine pollen tincture is specifically indicated for men in middle age who are experiencing androgen insufficiency problems— low libido, low energy, erectile dysfunction, elevated estrogen levels, poor testosterone/estrogen ratio, and so on. It is also indicated for use in conditions presenting with general fatigue, chronic muscle weakness, or low immune function as a continuing symptom. In these latter situations it should be taken in lower doses than for androgen insufficiency and generally mixed with other herbs that can help the conditions
  • The powder is indicated as a nutrient supplement in chronic diseases of any sort—chronic fatigue, lyme disease, hepatitis B and C, AIDS, and so on. It should be consumed regularly as a long-term nutritive supplement in such instances. The pollen powder won’t affect androgen levels much by itself; the testosterone and other androgens in the powder don’t make it through the GI tract in enough quantity. To increase testosterone levels only the tincture is reliable.
  • To Raise Androgen Levels Tincture: Full dropper 3 times daily or as desired (i.e. 30 drops, 1.5 ml, or 3/8 tsp 3 times daily). Hold in the mouth for a minute or so, then swallow. This allows more contact with the mucous membranes, increasing the amount that is taken through them into the bloodstream. Once you swallow, little of the tincture will reach the stomach; most will be absorbed through the membranes of the throat and esophagus on the way down. This is the proper way to take all tinctures.
  • As tonic, nutritive, and adaptogen Tablets: 3–6, 500 mg tablets 3 times daily—or the equivalent amount of powder. In other words, 4.5–9 grams daily.
  • I found it extremely effective in practice. When taken as a tincture the pollen constituents enter the bloodstream almost immediately, and there is an immediate upsurge in energy and, over time, an increase in strength, vitality, libido, and optimism. Sexual stamina and erectile function both increase.
  • Because the pollen, when taken as pill or powder, must travel through the GI tract and its digestive processes, it is much less effective for raising androgen levels than the tincture. This applies to many other herbs and nutrients. For example, omega-3 and herbs like deer antler are more likely to get oxidized and not be fully absorbed as they travel through the GI tracts, and therefore taking them as a tincture would be more effective, unless you can’t tolerate alcohol tinctures then you’re better off using the powders or capsules. The pollen powder is an excellent nutritive and tonic supplement, but for testosterone enhancement, the tincture is a better approach and the only reliable one.
  • Although uncommon, a small percentage of people are allergic to pine pollen. This runs from about 1.5–10 percent of the population depending on the geographical location.
  • If you have previous sensitivity to pollens, it makes sense to go slow with pine pollen, beginning with a tiny dose, until you are sure that you are not sensitive.
  • Pine pollen tincture is contraindicated for those with androgenic excess conditions. There are no contraindications for the powder except for allergies to it. NOTE: Pine pollen tincture is for men in middle age or older or for those with the various kinds of disease conditions that pine pollen helps rectify. Pine pollen powder, on the other hand, can be used as a nutrient food or supplement by anyone with no restrictions other than for those with pine pollen allergy. It truly is good for all, female, male, child, adolescent, bodybuilder, or the aged.
  • Except in unusual circumstances, due to medical conditions, pine pollen tincture does not need to be used by adolescent men. And it really shouldn’t be used as a muscle enhancer by body builders—though it is becoming a part of that culture. Neither adolescent males nor bodybuilders normally need to use exogenous testosterone sources, though due to impatience or the influence of photographs in men’s magazines, many want to.

The intake of pharmaceutical testosterone is often accompanied by atrophy of the male sex organs—pine pollen tincture when used appropriately will not cause such atrophy, nor will it produce any of the many side effects that accompany pharmaceutical testosterone.

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