Royal jelly is a creamy white substance secreted from the salivary glands of worker bees to feed young bee larvae. The larvae that will eventually develop into queen bees continue to receive this nectar until they reach maturation. It has been theorized that it is this diet of royal jelly that allows the queen bee to grow bigger and live longer than the other bees, and for this reason some believe that royal jelly is can have life-extending effects for humans as well.
Advocates of royal jelly supplementation claim that this substance increases energy and vitality. Royal jelly is also thought to have antioxidant effects that slow signs of aging and reduce symptoms of many age-related disorders, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, baldness, decreased libido, menopause, osteoporosis, heart disease, high cholesterol, and decreased muscle and skin tone. Royal jelly has also been recommended for treatment of asthma, depressed immune system, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, and a host of digestive and skin disorders. It is available at health-food stores and from mail order and online distributors. Royal jelly supplements comes in soft-gel capsules and extracts, and is added as a moisturizing agent to many cosmetic creams, shampoos, and conditioners.
Unfortunately, there is currently no scientific evidence to back up claims that royal jelly is an effective treatment for any human disease or disorder. In addition, some doctors warn that royal jelly could cause potentially dangerous or even fatal allergic reactions. It is interesting to note that royal jelly is actually sometimes recommended for treatment of allergies, the theory being that, like allergy shots, royal jelly delivers small amounts of pollen that over time increase tolerance to certain plants. However, there have been reports of people developing hives, asthma, and even going into anaphylactic shock after ingesting royal jelly supplements. Anyone allergic to ragweed, dandelions, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, bees, or honey should not consume royal jelly.