Royal jelly is a substance secreted by honey bees that has long been used as a natural or alternative medicine. Meant as a food source for bee larvae, the product has also been used by humans to treat low energy levels, as an antibiotic and even to help boost the immune system. However, too much royal jelly can cause undesirable side effects.
Ingestion of royal jelly may cause allergic reactions in people who may have no idea they're allergic to certain types of pollen, according to Dr. Stephen Barrett of QuackWatch.org., a website dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions regarding health care. Reactions may range from hives to anaphylactic shock. Anyone allergic or sensitive to pollen, bee pollen or honey products should be cautious when using royal jelly supplements or products, suggests Drugs.com. To be on the safe side, consider skin-prick testing by an allergy specialist to make sure you don't have any allergic reaction to either bee pollen or royal jelly.
An upset stomach or gastrointestinal effects resulting from royal jelly ingestion have also been reported, according to Dr. Barrett, including nausea, queasiness and even diarrhea for those sensitive to the product. In some cases, ingestion of royal jelly has caused intestinal bleeding, according to eVitamins.com, an online health encyclopedia.
Individuals diagnosed with asthma should not take royal jelly, according to Online Vitamins Guide. Reactions to royal jelly for such individuals may range from skin irritation to difficulty breathing caused by spasms of the bronchial tubes and irritation to air sacs in the lungs. An individual diagnosed with any type of lung or respiratory issues should utilize caution with royal jelly, and to be on the safe side, discuss its use with your doctor before ingesting.
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should avoid using royal jelly, as its effects have not been determined by scientific research, according to Drugs.com.
Individuals sensitive to the components of royal jelly may notice mild to moderate skin irritations. Reactions such as rash or redness known as contact dermatitis may occur when using it as a topical ointment, according to eVitamins.com.