What Is Pine Pollen? (2023)

Pine pollen is a yellow, powdery substance from pine cones of various pine tree species. The three species most commonly studied include Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Chinese red pine (Pinus tabuliformis), and Masson pine (Pinus massoniana). Pine pollen contains chemicals called saccharides (types of sugar), amino acids, and phytosterols.

Very little is known about the nutritional value of pine pollen, and the science supporting any health advantages is weak. Nevertheless, pine pollen has been studied in vitro (in cells and test tubes) in animals and people for:

  • Blood sugar
  • Cancer
  • Cholesterol
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Liver health
  • Skin diseases

Pine pollen should not be confused with pine bark, which has also been studied for several health conditions. This article covers studies of pine pollen, but there is not yet enough evidence to recommend it to treat any disease.

What Is Pine Pollen? (1)

Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. Choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF, when possible. However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn't mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, talking to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and checking in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications is important.

Supplement Facts

  • Active Ingredient: Saccharides (types of sugar), amino acids, and phytosterols.
  • Alternate Names: Pinus massoniana, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus tabuliformis, pinus pollen, cracked cell wall, Songhuang, Song Hua Fen
  • Legal Status: Over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplement (United States)
  • Suggested Dose: There is no suggested dose for pine pollen.
  • Safety Considerations: Inadequate information. So, caution is advised in children, people with liver or kidney problems, and pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Uses of Pine Pollen

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Scientists reviewed pine pollen research articles from three Chinese and two English databases. After reviewing 239 articles, the scientists wrote that there was not enough evidence to conclude pine pollen’s use as a treatment for disease. The articles included 180 studies about pine pollen pharmacology, 37 studies about pine pollen used in people, and 22 review articles. This review was useful as a summary of future pine pollen research directions. Pine pollen has been studied in vitro and in animals for:

  • Aging
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Blood sugar
  • Cholesterol
  • Decreased tumor growth
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Fatigue
  • Immune system regulation
  • Intestinal health
  • Liver health

It's also been studied in humans for:

  • Bed sores
  • Constipation
  • Chickenpox
  • Eczema
  • Enlarged prostate
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Side effects of chemotherapy
  • Skin inflammation from diapers
  • Skin ulcers

Although pine pollen has been studied for several health conditions, there's not enough evidence to suggest it can treat any disease. If you plan to try a pine pollen supplement, ask your healthcare provider before taking it.

Colorectal Cancer

Scientists studied pine pollen polysaccharides in mice with colon cancer tumor cells. They found that tumor growth was slowed or prevented. The researchers also conducted in vitro studies as part of the same experiment. They discovered that pine pollen polysaccharide (carbohydrate) stopped colorectal cancer cell division and triggered apoptosis (programmed cell death) of colorectal cancer cells.

These results are not necessarily transferable to humans. More research is needed.

(Video) Pine Pollen, The Nutritious Adaptogen from the Pine Tree


Limited in vitro and animal studies suggest that pine pollen may have anti-inflammatory activity.

Scientists studied pine pollen polysaccharide in mice with ulcerative colitis. The study result showed that the body weight of the mice increased, which was a sign of improvement. An additional outcome was a decrease in inflammatory chemicals.

Researchers also studied pine pollen extract in mice with arthritis. They found oral pine pollen extract decreased arthritis swelling and lowered inflammatory chemicals.

Another in vitro study of pine pollen extract in human cells showed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

These results do not mean that these effects may occur in humans. Further research is needed.

Liver Health

Researchers studied an herbal formula with pine pollen in rats with liver disease caused by connective tissue build-up.They found that the pine pollen extract decreased tissue build-up in the rat livers.

These results are not necessarily transferable to humans. More research is needed.

Wound Healing

Researchers conducted an in vitro study to determine if pine pollen would increase cell growth, healing wounds faster. They studied the effects of pine pollen polysaccharides (carbohydrates) in animal cells. The study results reported an increase in the production of cell division proteins.

These results do not mean that these effects may occur in humans. Further research is needed.

Other Uses

Some brands of pine pollen focus on the idea that phytoandrogens (plant hormones) could theoretically function like the testosterone your body makes. There is some research about this idea in general, but there is not enough evidence yet.

For example, there are preliminary studies about phytoandrogens from other plants used to treat enlarged prostate in rats. But there is no good quality evidence to support the use of pine pollen as a source of testosterone in humans.

Far more research is needed to know whether pine pollen benefits people trying to increase testosterone levels—which may not be a good idea in the first place.

For some people, low testosterone levels may indicate an underlying medical condition requiring treatment. Rather than self-treating, speak to your healthcare provider if you're experiencing symptoms.

What Are the Side Effects of Pine Pollen?

Your healthcare provider may suggest pine pollen for a condition. However, consuming a supplement like pine pollen may have potential side effects. These side effects may be common or severe.

Common Side Effects

Researchers reviewed studies of pine pollen, and one study reported diarrhea, bloating, and loss of appetite. But in this study, pine pollen was used along with metformin, a drug with those side effects. So the side effects might have been from metformin, not pine pollen.

(Video) The Most Powerful Testosterone Boosting Food? (Pine Pollen Review)

Severe Side Effects

Many people are allergic to pollen from trees and other plants. Don't take pine pollen products if you havepine allergies since the products may trigger allergic reactions. If you have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include but are not limited to hives, diarrhea, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face and lips.

Call 911 and get medical help immediately if you're having a severe allergic reaction or any of your symptoms feel life-threatening.


Do keep the following precautions in mind when using pine pollen:

Allergy: Many people are allergic to pollen from trees and other plants. Don't take pine pollen products if you havepine allergies since the products may trigger allergic reactions.

Hormonal effects: Pine pollen supplements could theoretically affect testosterone levels, leading to unwanted side effects. Like other hormones, testosterone levels should stay within a specific range.

Other modifications: Children, people who are pregnant or nursing, or people who have liver or kidney disease, shouldn't take pine pollen. There is not enough information to establish safety in these higher-risk groups.

Dosage: How Much Pine Pollen Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

There is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for pine pollen or related products. The correct dose for you (if any) may depend on your age, the condition you're looking to treat, and your overall health.

Some doses are listed on supplement labels but may be unsafe. Always speak to your healthcare provider before taking this or any supplement since it may interfere with other medications or treatments for another condition.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Pine Pollen?

Hormonal effects: Pine pollen supplements could theoretically affect testosterone levels, leading to unwanted side effects. Like other hormones, testosterone levels should stay within a specific range.

If you feel you've ingested too much pine pollen, seek immediate guidance from a healthcare provider.


Hormones: Pine pollen supplements could theoretically affect testosterone levels, leading to unwanted side effects. Like other hormones, testosterone levels should stay within a specific range.

It is essential to carefully read a supplement's ingredient list and nutrition facts panel to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How to Store Pine Pollen

Storage instructions vary for different products. Carefully read the directions and packaging label on the container. Keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet. Try to store your medications in a cool and dry place.

Discard after one year or as indicated on the packaging. Avoid pouring unused and expired products down the drain or in the toilet. Visit the FDA's website to know where and how to discard all unused and expired medications. You can also find disposal boxes in your area.

(Video) Pine Pollen Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, and More

Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how to dispose of your medications or supplements.

If you plan to travel with pine pollen or other medicines, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. Checking with the U.S. embassy or consulate might be a helpful resource.

Similar Supplements

A supplement similar to pine pollen is bee pollen. Bee pollen may include pine pollen.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there other natural ways to boost testosterone?

    Testosterone levels change over time. Specific lifestyle changes may be helpful if you're concerned about reduced energy or libido. These include exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, reaching and/or maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress. While there’s no evidence that pine pollen can keep your testosterone levels from falling if you try it, consult your healthcare provider first. They may check your hormone levels, help you weigh the pros and cons, and discuss whether it's appropriate.

    Learn More:The Best Foods for Increasing Low Testosterone

  • What is the difference between pine pollen and pine bark?

    Pine pollen comes from pine cones, and pine bark is on the trunk and branches of the pine tree. Even though they come from the same plant, pine pollen and pine bark contain different chemicals. Pine bark extract has been studied to treat high blood pressure. Always carefully read the label of a supplement before you take it.

    Learn More:11 Best Herbs and Supplements for High Blood Pressure


  • Is pine pollen an adaptogen?

    Maybe. Adaptogens are natural medicines that are studied for hormone regulation. If further pine pollen study shows that it can regulate testosterone or cortisol levels in people, it could be called an adaptogen in the future. Just because a supplement is marketed as an adaptogen does not mean it has hormone-regulating properties.

    Learn More:What Are Adaptogens?

Sources of Pine Pollen & What To Look For

Pine pollen is sold in many health food stores and online. It is sold in the following forms:

  • Powder
  • Liquid extracts
  • Capsules with powder inside
  • Capsules with extract inside

Many brands combine pine pollen with other ingredients, so it is essential to read the label carefully before you buy a supplement.

Remember that dietary supplements like pine pollen are unregulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to government standards, it is illegal to market a dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for a specific disease or to alleviate the symptoms of a disease. The FDA does not test such products for safety or effectiveness.

Sometimes,a product may deliver ingredient doses that differ from what's specified on its label. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances. Some consumers seek products certified by ConsumerLab, U.S.Pharmacopeia, or NSF. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective. Still, they ensure that the product is manufactured correctly, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful contaminants.

Food Sources of Pine Pollen

Pine pollen comes from pine cones, and pine bark is on the trunk and branches of the pine tree. Even though they come from the same plant, pine pollen, and pine bark contain different chemicals. Always carefully read the label of a supplement before you take it.

Pine Pollen Supplements

Pine pollen most frequently comes in capsules and powder form.


Pine pollen is a supplement made from pollen in the pine cones of pine trees. It has been studied in cells, animals, and humans for various health conditions, including skin diseases and enlarged prostate. But there is insufficient scientific evidence to recommend it for any specific use.

There is not sufficient safety information about pine pollen either. Because many people are allergic to pollen, use caution if you have allergies. Like any supplement, be careful with unfamiliar brands your healthcare provider does not recommend.

Pine pollen supplements are found in health food stores, pharmacies, and online. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplement. It might interact with your medication or worsen an existing health condition.


What is the purpose of pine pollen? ›

While you may be familiar with pollen as an allergen, pine pollen has long been used in traditional medicine. It's believed to have anti-aging properties, treat various health conditions, and boost testosterone. Research into the health benefits of pine pollen is ongoing.

Is pine pollen good to eat? ›

Pine Pollen is extremely nutrient dense.

“Pine Pollen can be consumed in large amounts to derive any of the wide range of vitamins and minerals it contains, such as Vitamins A B-Carotene, B1, B2, B3, B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E.

Can pine pollen make you sick? ›

Symptoms of pine pollen allergies are much like “hay fever” and typically include: Itchy tearing red eyes. Bags under the eyes. Runny nose with or without sneezing and congestion.

What is pine pollen and what does it contain? ›

Pine Pollen refers to the pollen of trees in the pinus genera, which are sometimes used as dietary supplements. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) contains testosterone at levels unlikely to affect the body, while other species may have antiinflammatory properties based on preliminary evidence.

What is another name for pine pollen? ›

Pine pollen (Pinus pollen) is a Chinese herbal medicine, also known as “Songhuafen” or “Songhuang,” being first recorded in the Tang Dynasty's Xin Xiu Ben Cao; it has been used in medicinal products and as a healthy food for thousands of years.

Is pine pollen anti-inflammatory? ›

These findings suggest that pine pollen is a potential antioxidant and beneficial for inflammatory conditions through down-regulation of JNK and MMPs.

Does pine pollen give energy? ›

Increases Energy

The naturally occurring testosterone and DHEA and 30% protein content in Pine Pollen powder help support muscle synthesis and growth - improving energy production and mitochondrial function.

How do you eat pine pollen? ›

In small amounts and teaspoon amounts, pine pollen powder can be added to virtually any food as an enhancer for its tonifying and adaptogenic qualities. In addition to your daily routine of supplements, 1tsp (1.5g) a day of our pine pollen powder is our recommended serving size.

Where is pine pollen found? ›

The male pine cones, which dangle at the ends of lower branches, have many pollen sacks which produce and hold pollen. As the male cones mature, they nurture the pollen grains. Then on sunny, windy days with relatively low humidity, the pollen sacks split open.

How common is pine pollen allergy? ›

Pine tree pollen isn't as allergenic as some other tree species, such as oak, birch, and elm, which makes pine tree allergies relatively uncommon.

Why do pine trees produce so much pollen? ›

Because of the uncertainty of leaving the wind to determine whether or not the pollen from a “male” tree will find its way to a “female” tree, trees produce a huge amount of pollen to increase the chances of creating new seeds.

What hormones are in pine pollen? ›

Pine pollen contains all four major androgen (male sex) hormones, androstenedione, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and androsterone (Danuše, 2019). Because androgen hormones are present in pine pollen, once digested or absorbed, pine pollen raises testosterone levels almost immediately (Wong, 2019).

What are the skin benefits of pine pollen? ›

Rich in antioxidants, pine pollen benefits skin by slowing down the signs of ageing. Plus, its anti-inflammatory qualities make it effective in treating several skin conditions, including acne, eczema, impetigo and nappy rash.

Does pine pollen block estrogen? ›

Pine pollen extract from Pinus patula ssp. tecunumanii could be classified as a phyto-androgen that might balance testosterone and estrogen levels, resulting in alleviating the symptoms of sex hormone deficiency such as hot flushes, night sweating, and sleep disturbance.

Is pine pollen good for blood pressure? ›

Masson pine pollen that is derived from plants is rich in nutrients. It provides health benefits such as bolstering immunity, being anti-aging as well as reducing fatigue, regulating metabolism, lowering blood pressure and blood glucose levels and protecting the liver.


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