Comparing Bee Propolis and Bee Pollen: Which One is Right for You?

Published on October 07, 2023

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

Whether you’re new to the world of supplements or a longtime veteran, one ingredient you’re likely seeing a lot of right now is bee pollen. While honey has been on the health scene for hundreds of years, bee pollen is quickly gaining traction as another bee-derived supplement.

But what is bee pollen, and what makes it different from bee propolis? Read on to learn more about these two supplements with Gaia Herbs.

What is Bee Propolis?

Bee propolis is essentially “bee glue.” Bees excrete this waxy substance, which hardens like resin, to repair their hives and protect themselves. Bee propolis does not contain bee pollen; it isn’t the same as honeycomb, honey, or royal jelly.REF#3016

The ingredients and compounds inside bee propolis change based on the source of the product. If you have bee propolis that is sourced from one specific region, that propolis will have a different chemical structure than propolis sourced from another area. 

Bee propolis typically contains resin, oil, wax, amino acids, minerals, vitamins B, C, and E, flavonoids, phenols, and sugars.REF#3018 It’s also generally a good source of antioxidants. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Bee Propolis?

Bee propolis’ lists of health benefits includes:

  • Cleansing properties: These help keep your immune system thriving and help support healthy levels of bacteria in your body.REF#3019
  • Skin support: The ancient Greeks used bee propolis to support the natural wound-healing process. Propolis contains a compound that can support skin repair and rejuvenation, making it especially helpful if you get a cut, scrape, or minor burn.REF#3020
  • Antioxidants: Bee propolis contains antioxidants, which can help protect the body from oxidative stress brought on by free radicals.REF#3017
  • Dental hygiene: Bee propolis has cleansing activities that can help fight cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, especially when it’s used as a mouthwash.REF#3022
  • Healthy metabolic function: Blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels are all part of your body’s metabolic function. Making sure these functions work properly is essential to good health. Bee propolis is high in polyphenols, which can support healthy metabolic function.REF#3016

There are numerous other reasons people may take bee propolis, and many rely on it as a first line of defense when they feel the first sniffle of a minor illness.

Side Effects of Bee Propolis

Bee propolis is generally safe for use unless you have an allergy to bees or bee products. That said, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement to make sure it’s a good fit for you. 

What is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen, like propolis, is a bee product. Bee pollen is collected from various plants during the pollination process and mixed with bee saliva.REF#3014

Bees use this mixture, which sometimes contains plant nectars, to make honey. 

Ancient texts, including some Egyptian texts, show that bee pollen has been used for centuries for its health benefits.REF#3015 It’s also been relied upon as food for centuries and even now is typically classified as such. It’s given the term “functional food,” which means it has numerous health benefits.REF#3015

Bee pollen, like bee propolis, contains vitamins, minerals, carbs, lipids, and protein that the body finds useful. Because it includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, it’s referred to as a highly nutritious functional food.REF#3014

The composition of bee pollen varies depending on the source of the bee pollen. Just like bee propolis, the chemical makeup of the pollen will change depending on where the bee who made it lives and the plants it had access to.REF#3014

What Are the Health Benefits of Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen also has quite a few health benefits, which include:

  • Cleansing properties: The cleansing nature of bee pollen is similar to that of bee propolis. It is useful in supporting the immune system.REF#3014
  • Athletic performance: One of the many reasons people love bee pollen is because it can support healthy energy levels. In animal studies, bee pollen has been shown to support muscle performance and endurance.REF#3023
  • Dietary supplement: When every calorie counts, we want to focus on foods that are loaded with the vitamins, minerals, and compounds our body needs to thrive. Bee pollen is a good source of both macronutrients and micronutrients, making it a nutritional dietary supplement that can help you meet your goals.REF#3015
  • Antioxidants: Bee pollen is a good source of antioxidants that can protect the body from free radicals and associated oxidative stress.REF#3015

Like bee propolis, people may use bee pollen to help support immunity and as a general, daily supplement to support overall wellness. 

Side Effects of Bee Pollen

Allergic reactions can occur if you are allergic to bees or bee products and decide to use bee pollen. Additionally, bee pollen should always be cleared with your healthcare provider as a useful tool for your health stack before you begin taking it. 

As you’ve probably noticed, both bee propolis and bee propolis have similar benefits. It can be hard to know which one is the best fit. Let’s compare them and determine which one is right for you. 

Which is Better: Bee Pollen or Bee Propolis?

The mighty bee has given us numerous products to choose from, and these two have very similar properties. If you’re not sure which direction to go, read on to learn some of the main differences between these two bee “byproducts.”

For Immune Support

For immune support, many herbalists trust bee propolis. It contains numerous minerals that support the immune system, like zinc and magnesium, and can even have a soothing effect on sore throats. 

However, it’s important to choose local bee pollen, which will contain pollen that has been collected from local blooming plants. 

As a Dietary Supplement

Adding just a teaspoon of bee pollen daily can provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, helping support your body. With these micronutrients, your body can power itself through its normal processes and keep you feeling healthy and strong.

For Overall Wellness

Many herbalists prefer bee propolis for supporting total wellness. Based on its antioxidant content, bioavailability, and low incidence of side effects, bee propolis is generally considered a well-tolerated supplement that can help support immunity and protect the body from oxidative stress. Just remember, if you are a vegan, you shouldn’t take these products, as they are considered animal products.

The Bottom Bee-Line

Whether you take pollen or propolis, you can get some great health benefits you might not find in other supplements. Before you start a supplement, always check with your doctor, and make sure you know where your supplements are sourced. 

At Gaia Herbs, we’re 100 percent transparent with our sourcing and our herbs. In fact, we own our very own herb reference guide, helping you understand what’s in your supplements, how they work in your body, and where we get them from. 

Let Gaia be your guide to wellness, and trust us to bring you pure, sustainably, and ethically sourced products. To learn more, check out our blog.


  • 1. , "LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet].", Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Bee Products: Beeswax, Bee Pollen, Propolis. [Updated 2022 May 1]. .
  • 2. Khalifa SAM, Elashal MH, Yosri N, Du M, Musharraf SG, Nahar L, Sarker SD, Guo Z, Cao W, Zou X, Abd El-Wahed AA, Xiao J, Omar HA, Hegazy MF, El-Seedi HR., "Bee Pollen: Current Status and Therapeutic Potential", Nutrients. 2021 May 31;13(6):1876. doi: 10.3390/nu13061876. PMID: 34072636; PMCID: PMC8230257..
  • 3. Wagh VD. , "Propolis: a wonder bees product and its pharmacological potentials.", Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2013;2013:308249. doi: 10.1155/2013/308249. Epub 2013 Dec 9. PMID: 24382957; PMCID: PMC3872021. .
  • 4. Kocot, J., Kiełczykowska, M., Luchowska-Kocot, D., Kurzepa, J., & Musik, I. (2018), "Antioxidant Potential of Propolis, Bee Pollen, and Royal Jelly: Possible Medical Application", Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2018, 7074209..
  • 5. Ahangari Z, Naseri M, Vatandoost F., "Propolis: Chemical Composition and Its Applications in Endodontics", Iran Endod J. 2018 Summer;13(3):285-292. doi: 10.22037/iej.v13i3.20994. PMID: 30083195; PMCID: PMC6064031 .
  • 6. Al-Ani I, Zimmermann S, Reichling J, Wink M., "Antimicrobial Activities of European Propolis Collected from Various Geographic Origins Alone and in Combination with Antibiotics", Medicines (Basel). 2018 Jan 3;5(1):2. doi: 10.3390/medicines5010002. PMID: 29301368; PMCID: PMC5874567. .
  • 7. Braakhuis, Andrea. 2019., "Evidence on the Health Benefits of Supplemental Propolis", Nutrients 11, no. 11: 2705. .
  • 8. Sforcin JM, "Biological Properties and Therapeutic Applications of Propolis.", Phytother Res. 2016 Jun;30(6):894-905. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5605. Epub 2016 Mar 14. PMID: 26988443. .
  • 9. Felix Zulhendri, Rafael Felitti, James Fearnley, Munir Ravalia, "The use of propolis in dentistry, oral health, and medicine: A review", Journal of Oral Biosciences, Volume 63, Issue 1, 2021, Pages 23-34, ISSN 1349-0079,.
  • 10. Salles J, Cardinault N, Patrac V, Berry A, Giraudet C, Collin ML, Chanet A, Tagliaferri C, Denis P, Pouyet C, Boirie Y, Walrand S., "Bee pollen improves muscle protein and energy metabolism in malnourished old rats through interfering with the Mtor signaling pathway and mitochondrial activity", Nutrients. 2014 Dec 1;6(12):5500-16. doi: 10.3390/nu6125500. PMID: 25470375; PMCID: PMC4276980..