Royal jelly is a sticky substance produced by worker honeybees that is used to feed the queen bee and bee larvae. While the worker bees subsist on a diet of pollen and honey, the queen bee thrives on a diet of royal jelly. The queen bee grows larger and lives longer than an ordinary bee due to this difference in diet. This has given royal jelly a reputation as a superfood and brought it into use as a dietary supplement for humans. Organic royal jelly is royal jelly that has been produced by honeybees in the absence of ionizing radiation, genetically modified organisms, pesticides, sewage sludge, or synthetic fertilizers.
There are numerous manufacturers who market products labeled as organic royal jelly. It can be challenging to produce a truly organic royal jelly because it is difficult to prevent bees from encountering any traces of pesticide without subjecting the bees to quarantine. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a procedure for evaluating a product before granting it the USDA Organic seal. This process includes random inspections to ensure that guidelines are being met. Without the USDA Organic seal, royal jelly is not considered to be certified organic.
Natural royal jelly is a term sometimes used synonymously with organic royal jelly. Since royal jelly cannot be artificially created, all royal jelly is natural. Used as a dietary supplement, it can be taken internally as a royal jelly capsule. Celebrated for its reputation as a treatment for maladies ranging from arthritis to fatigue to high cholesterol, royal jelly has even been called a remedy for some sexual dysfunction, such as low libido in women after menopause. In spite of its popularity, royal jelly has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or cure any diseases.
Royal jelly contains many vitamins, including niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folic acid, inositol, biotin, pantothenic acid, and trace amounts of vitamin C. Creams that contain royal jelly typically are available in a topical preparation that claims to soften and smooth the skin while protecting it from free radicals, which can cause premature aging. In spite of the effects of royal jelly on the queen bee, studies have not shown any definitive royal jelly benefits in humans. In addition, royal jelly side effects have been reported, which range from asthma and hives to anaphylactic shock. These side effects are most common in users who are allergic to pollen.