Bee Pollen is one of the richest and purest natural foods ever discovered, and the incredible nutritional and medicinal value of pollen has been known for centuries.
Pollen grains contain the male germ cells (elements) that are produced by all plants, flowers or blossoms. This is essential in order to ensure that plant life throughout the world continues by a process involving fertilization and plant embryo formation.
One teaspoonful of pollen contains approximately 1,200 pellets or 2.5 billion grains, each of which has the capacity to supply those factors that are necessary in order to fertilize and reproduce the particular species that it represents (such as a fruit, grain or tree). Pollen is composed of myriads of microspores that are produced in the anthers of flowers and in the cones of conifers. Each grain measures approximately .002 inches in diameter (although the representative diameter is somewhere near one-half millimeter), and each bee-collected pellet contains approximately two million grains of pollen.
Pollination consists of the transfer of pollen from the anther of a stamen to the stigma of a pistil. This, in turn, produces a fertilization of the ovules in the ovary, which subsequently develops into the growth of seeds. A single spike of Ragweed or a single strobile of Pine may produce up to six million grains of pollen, and as many as four million grains may be found in a head of rye. Many plants are pollinated by wind, rain or water-currents, while colorfully attractive or scented flowers containing nectar are largely pollinated by insects (including flies, bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles and moths).
Pollen gathered by bees is superior to that obtained directly from flowering plants. The bees are extremely discriminate about selecting the best pollen from the millions of grains that are present. Of these, only two types are found, namely, anemophile pollen grains (which are not collected by bees, and produce allergic reactions) and entomophile pollen grains (which are collected by bees, and possess greater nutrient content). In actuality, entomophile pollen grains have been employed in the successful treatment of airborn pollen allergies. It is apparent that the bees only select those grains of pollen that are rich in all the nutrients, especially nitrogenous materials. The bees mix the pollen grains with a sticky substance that is secreted from their stomachs, which allows the pollen to adhere to their rear legs in “pollen baskets” in order to safely transport it to their hives.
Many other flowers are also pollinated by certain birds, such as sunbirds, honeycreepers, lorikeets and hummingbirds. Marsupials (such as honey “mice” and bats) will also pollinate certain flowering plants, and even snails have been observed transporting pollen.
Pollens are usually designated by their flower origin in order to establish certain preferences that are dependable. The color and shape usually indicates the species of plant from which it was obtained, as well as the specific geographical region. Although the color of pollen is normally unimportant, it will range from golden yellow to black according to its source. Pollen contains many varieties of pigments, of which only a small number have been isolated. Certain pigments are water-soluble, while others are fat-soluble. This accounts for the many varied colors of honey (including the ambers and greens), and the yellow of beeswax is a fat-soluble pigment.