Royal Jelly

Other Name(s):

Apis mellifera, Bee Saliva, Bee Spit, Gelée Royale, Honey Bee Milk, Honey Bee's Milk, Jalea Real, Lait des Abeilles, Royal Bee Jelly.


Royal jelly is a milky secretion produced by worker honey bees. It typically contains about 60% to 70% water, 12% to 15% proteins, 10% to 16% sugar, 3% to 6% fats, and 2% to 3% vitamins, salts, and amino acids. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate. This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it for the development and nurturing of queen bees. Some people use royal jelly as medicine. Don't confuse royal jelly with bee pollen or bee venom.

Royal jelly is used for asthma, hay fever, liver disease, pancreatitis, sleep troubles (insomnia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, menopausal symptoms, skin disorders, and high cholesterol. It is also used as a general health tonic, for fighting the effects of aging, and for boosting the immune system.

Some people apply royal jelly directly to the skin as a tonic or to the scalp to encourage hair growth.

How does it work?

There is very little scientific information available about the effects of royal jelly in people. In animals, royal jelly seems to have some activity against tumors and the development of “hardening of the arteries.”

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Menopausal symptoms. Some research shows that taking a specific product containing royal jelly and flower pollen (Melbrosia) by mouth for 12 weeks can reduce menopausal symptoms and improve feelings of well-being in menopausal women. Another specific product containing royal jelly, evening primrose oil, damiana, and ginseng (Lady 4) may also decrease menopausal symptoms.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Seasonal allergies (hayfever). Taking a specific royal jelly product (Bidro) by mouth for 3-6 months before and during pollen season does not seem to improve nasal congestion, sneezing, or eye discomfort in children with hayfever.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diabetic foot ulcers. Early research shows that applying a specific ointment containing royal jelly and panthenol (Pediphar) for up to 6 months after cleansing and removal of dead tissue may improve the healing of diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Infertility. Early research shows that applying a solution containing royal jelly, Egyptian bee honey, and bee bread to the vagina for 2 weeks may increase the rate of pregnancy in couples with fertility problems due to reduced sperm movement (asthenozoospermia).
  • High cholesterol. Early research suggests that injecting royal jelly, or taking royal jelly under the tongue or by mouth for 2-11 weeks, might lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) . Early research shows that taking a specific product (Femal, Natumin Pharma) containing royal jelly, bee pollen extract, and bee pollen with pistil extract by mouth for 2 menstrual cycles seems to decrease certain symptoms of PMS including irritability, weight increases, and swelling.
  • Asthma.
  • Liver disease.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia) .
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Bone fractures.
  • Skin disorders.
  • Baldness.
  • Boosting immunity.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of royal jelly for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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Side Effects

Royal jelly is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. A specific product containing a combination of royal jelly, bee pollen extract, and bee pollen plus pistol extract (Femal by Natumin Pharma) has been used safely for up to 2 months. Another combination product containing royal jelly and flower pollen (Melbrosia) has been used safely for up to 3 months. Royal jelly might cause serious allergic reactions including asthma, swelling of the throat, and death. Rarely, it might cause the colon to bleed, accompanied by stomach pain and bloody diarrhea.

Royal jelly is also POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately. However, it has caused inflammation and allergic rash when applied to the scalp.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Children: Royal jelly is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 6 months.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using royal jelly if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma or allergies: Don't use royal jelly if you have asthma or allergies to bee products. It could cause some serious reactions, even death.

Inflamed skin (dermatitis): Royal jelly might make dermatitis worse.

Low blood pressure: Royal jelly might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, taking royal jelly might make it drop too much.


Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Royal jelly seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking royal jelly along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Royal jelly might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking royal jelly with warfarin (Coumadin) might result in an increased chance of bruising or bleeding.


The appropriate dose of royal jelly depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for royal jelly. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


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Baldo, B. A. Allergies to wheat, yeast and royal jelly: a connection between ingestion and inhalation? Monogr Allergy 1996;32:84-91. View abstract.

Bellegris, Agnes. Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly. Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition. 1995;152(34)

Boukraa, L. and Sulaiman, S. A. Rediscovering the antibiotics of the hive. Recent Pat Antiinfect.Drug Discov. 2009;4(3):206-213. View abstract.

Boukraa, Laïd. Additive Activity of Royal Jelly and Honey Against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Alternative Medicine Review. 2008;13(4):330-333.

Calli C, Tugyan K Oncel S Pýnar E Demirtaþoglu F Calli A Yucel B Yýlmaz O Kiray A. Effectiveness of Royal Jelly on Tympanic Membrane Perforations: An Experimental Study. Journal of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery. 2008;37(2):179-184.

Chun SY, Feng TY Fu SY Kwong CC Jing GC. Royal jelly inhibited N-acetylation and metabolism of 2-aminofluorene in human liver tumor cells (J5). Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry. 2005;87:83-90.

Chupin SP, Sivokhov VL Bulnaeva GI. Use of Apilak (royal jelly) in sports medicine. Sports Training, Medicine & Rehabilitation. 1988;1(1):13-15.

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Erem, C., Deger, O., Ovali, E., and Barlak, Y. The effects of royal jelly on autoimmunity in Graves' disease. Endocrine. 2006;30(2):175-183. View abstract.

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Fleche, C., Clement, M. C., Zeggane, S., and Faucon, J. P. [Contamination of bee products and risk for human health: situation in France]. Rev.Sci.Tech. 1997;16(2):609-619. View abstract.

Fontana, R., Mendes, M. A., de Souza, B. M., Konno, K., Cesar, L. M., Malaspina, O., and Palma, M. S. Jelleines: a family of antimicrobial peptides from the Royal Jelly of honeybees (Apis mellifera). Peptides 2004;25(6):919-928. View abstract.

Fujiwara, S., Imai, J., Fujiwara, M., Yaeshima, T., Kawashima, T., and Kobayashi, K. A potent antibacterial protein in royal jelly. Purification and determination of the primary structure of royalisin. J.Biol.Chem. 7-5-1990;265(19):11333-11337. View abstract.

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Guo, H., Ekusa, A., Iwai, K., Yonekura, M., Takahata, Y., and Morimatsu, F. Royal jelly peptides inhibit lipid peroxidation in vitro and in vivo. J.Nutr.Sci.Vitaminol.(Tokyo) 2008;54(3):191-195. View abstract.

Guo, H., Saiga, A., Sato, M., Miyazawa, I., Shibata, M., Takahata, Y., and Morimatsu, F. Royal jelly supplementation improves lipoprotein metabolism in humans. J.Nutr.Sci.Vitaminol.(Tokyo) 2007;53(4):345-348. View abstract.

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Hattori, N., Nomoto, H., Fukumitsu, H., Mishima, S., and Furukawa, S. Royal jelly and its unique fatty acid, 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, promote neurogenesis by neural stem/progenitor cells in vitro. Biomed.Res. 2007;28(5):261-266. View abstract.

Hayakawa, K., Katsumata, N., Hirano, M., Yoshikawa, K., Ogata, T., Tanaka, T., and Nagamine, T. Determination of biotin (vitamin H) by the high-performance affinity chromatography with a trypsin-treated avidin-bound column. J.Chromatogr.B Analyt.Technol.Biomed.Life Sci. 6-15-2008;869(1-2):93-100. View abstract.

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Inoue, S., Koya-Miyata, S., Ushio, S., Iwaki, K., Ikeda, M., and Kurimoto, M. Royal Jelly prolongs the life span of C3H/HeJ mice: correlation with reduced DNA damage. Exp.Gerontol. 2003;38(9):965-969. View abstract.

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Kamakura, M., Moriyama, T., and Sakaki, T. Changes in hepatic gene expression associated with the hypocholesterolaemic activity of royal jelly. J.Pharm.Pharmacol. 2006;58(12):1683-1689. View abstract.

Kanbur, M., Eraslan, G., Beyaz, L., Silici, S., Liman, B. C., Altinordulu, S., and Atasever, A. The effects of royal jelly on liver damage induced by paracetamol in mice. Exp.Toxicol.Pathol. 2009;61(2):123-132. View abstract.

Katayama, M., Aoki, M., and Kawana, S. Case of anaphylaxis caused by ingestion of royal jelly. J.Dermatol. 2008;35(4):222-224. View abstract.

Khoury R. Inquest into Royal Jelly Death. Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society. 1997;3(2):62.

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Koya-Miyata, S., Okamoto, I., Ushio, S., Iwaki, K., Ikeda, M., and Kurimoto, M. Identification of a collagen production-promoting factor from an extract of royal jelly and its possible mechanism. Biosci.Biotechnol.Biochem. 2004;68(4):767-773. View abstract.

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