Ingredient Spotlight: Pine Pollen
Pine Pollen has been used for generations for its nutritional benefits and healing properties. It is also a local, wild food currently seasonal in Ontario! Today, we’ll take you through this lesser-known superfood’s many benefits and give you some tips on how to incorporate it into your daily life.
What is Pine Pollen?
Pine pollen has been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years as a restorative, longevity tonic. Native to Ontario, pine pollen has also been used for generations by North American tribes. As a wild food, it is unaltered and nutritionally superior to cultivated crops and can act as a safe form of medicine.
Pine trees (genus Pinus) grow separate male and female cones. The male cones or catkins produce a fine, golden yellow powder that is carried by the wind to the female cone for reproduction in the spring. Pine Pollen season lasts for only a few weeks, mid-April to June, depending on climate.
There are many reasons pine pollen has such a long history of use. In TCM, pine pollen is prescribed as a strengthening tonic; particularly beneficial to the immune, cardiovascular and digestive system. Here are just a few benefits of adding it to your diet:
High Nutritional Value
Pine pollen contains 18 amino acids and is approximately 30% protein. It is also vitamin and mineral rich – including vitamins A C, D, E and Beta Carotene and many B vitamins.
Pine pollen is a source of natural, bioidentical testosterone, complex of androgens and phytosterols. These may aid in hormonal balance including during menopause and andropause and may counter the many estrogen-mimickers in our environment that can lead to a hormonal imbalance.
Endurance, Strength and Recovery
Pine pollen can increase endurance, energy and stamina. Its complex of androgens and phytosterols can also promote an anabolic state in the body, which is a state where the body is building and repairing cells and tissue. This is important for building strength and recovery!
Pine pollen can regulate and strengthen the immune system. It helps to prevent colds and increases the production of Superoxide Dismutase, an important antioxidant that stops and repairs damage to our DNA.
Digestion & Metabolism
Pine pollen can aid in digestion in many ways: it aids in bile secretion for fat digestion, helps to reduce cholesterol, improves metabolism and helps to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
Pine pollen can also provide benefit in many other ways including improving skin and hair health, improving prostate function, supporting detoxification, and nourishing the brain.
How do I Use it?
Pine pollen is available in its whole food form as a powder or as a tincture extract.
The powder can be beneficial as a nutritive food for anyone at any age to enhance whole body function.
The tincture preparation increases the pollen’s androgenic properties; the use of which can increases androgen hormone production, such as testosterone. Therefore, it is generally most suitable for men in middle age or older and is not recommended for adolescents.
It has a slightly sweet and bitter taste. It can be consumed on its own or try adding it to your smoothies and teas!
Marcelina is a Toronto-based Certified Holistic Nutritionist. She holds an honours degree from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition as well as a Biology and Environmental sciences degree from McMaster University. Her aim as a nutritionist is to aid and empower others to achieve a state of vibrant health and balance via the best possible nutrition and healing modalities for our bodies and minds; and to nurture our connection with spirit and nature even within an urban environment. Marcelina is a proponent of a whole, live, plant-based diet and passionate about superfoods and wild, foraged food and water.
Harrod, Buhner (2012). Pine Pollen, ancient medicine for the new millennium. BookBaby.
Mottier, DM. Pollination in the Pine. Journal of Heredity, 402-405.
Vitalis, Daniel. (2013) Pine Pollen (http://www.surthrival.com/pine-pollen-gold)
Willard, Yarrow. (2012) Pine Pollen (https://harmonicarts.ca/2012/07/pine-pollen/)