I’m lucky enough to be in a small village in Scotland surrounded by wild natural areas. One common tree here is Scots Pine so an abundance of pollen is released every year. Every year there is a dusting of yellow on our cars and in the streets in the village. This year it has been dry as the pollen is released and you can see swathes of pollen being released.
It is really is amazing what grows around us and what we use it for food, medicine, cosmetics and drinks. The amount of nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals are outstanding in our locality. Pine pollen is a real unsung hero of a substance.
Pine pollen contains so many good things. In these modern times a lot of plants and their parts, flowers, leaves, roots, pollen have been put through mass spectrometers and we now have a far more detailed understanding of the plants and what they contain. I have always used traditional information and listened to clinical evidence as well as looking at science. The oldest written account we have of humans ingesting pine pollen is from 200AD. Pine pollen has been well studied and has been put through a mass spectrometer to analyse it’s contents. This is what was found.
18 amino acids.
Vitamins – A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, C, D3, E and beta carotene.
Minerals – magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, silica, sodium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc
Phytochemicals – oleic acid, alpha linolenic acid, lignans, MSM, enzymes, coenzymes, flavonoids, monosaccharides, polysaccharides, nucleic Acid, superoxide dismutase (SOD), inositol, polyphenols, quercitin, rutin, phytosterols, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, testosterone.
Protein – about 30%.
This is a very impressive list from a pollen. Most of the interest for pine pollen comes from it containing testosterone. If taken regularly there has been shown to be an increase of testosterone in the body. Women also have testosterone and this also declines as they get older and hormone profiles in the body change. It worth noting you can have too much testosterone and this can cause issues. It is recommended to take no more than 5g in a day of pine pollen.
If you have allergies such as hayfever and asthma pine pollen is not to be taken. Some people have an allergic reaction to pine and the pollen even more so. So please be careful and cautious. Pine pollen contains a fair amount of testosterone and this should be taken into account when you consume it. It is recommended to not take more than 5g in a day. If you are on testosterone patches to already increase your hormone levels then the pine pollen will interfere with your current medication and should be avoided. If you intend to take pine pollen as a medicine it is best to consult your local medical herbalist and/or your GP.
I love the community of herbalists and foragers. I have been collecting pine pollen in an awkward and inefficient way in the past and a fellow forager Rupert commented on my Facebook post about taking some young pine cones and spreading them out on paper and allowing them to dry for a few days then sift out the pollen. Thanks Rupert you saved me loads of time and effort. We are always learning and thanks to kind sharing and listening can all build our knowledge base up. So use this method to collect!
The pollen can be added to smoothies, porridge, shortbread, drinks, brownies, fudge and a whole host of things. Get experimenting.
The pollen has a sweet taste and this is reflected in the recipes.
Pine pollen shortbread
125g butter or vegan spread
50 g sugar
180 g flour
5g pine pollen
Heat the oven to 180c
Beat the butter, sugar and pine pollen together in a bowl.
Add the flour and mix into a dough.
Roll out the dough to roughly 1 inch thick pieces and cut into your desired shape. Traditionally fingers or rounds.
Place your cut pieces on a flat baking tray and place in the oven for 15-20mins.
Once cooked and a slight golden colour on top remove from the oven place on a wire rack to cool and dust with pine pollen.
Hot chocolate with pine pollen
250ml milk – cows or your favourite nut, seed, oat milk.
50g chocolate – raw, bar or your favourite hot chocolate mix but without sugar.
20g sugar or alternative like coconut sugar.
5g pine pollen
Heat the milk, chocolate and sugar together in a small pan. You just want to dissolve the sugar and the chocolate try not to heat much beyond that point. Stir to mix the ingredients well and evenly.
Take off the heat and add the pine pollen and stir.
Pour into a mug and decorate to your taste. A dusting of pine pollen, rose petals, marshmallows and cream(cows or coconut).