Frequently Asked Questions
We created this FAQ page to answer some of the common questions that we receive at RAW Forest Foods. If you have a question that you do not see answered here or have a question you would like included in our FAQ, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Question: Using Pine Pollen to Increase Testosterone
Answer: Since we started RAW Forest Foods back in 2010, one of the most common questions that are floated around about Pine Pollen is the use of it for increasting testosterone and the best form of it to do so. Specifically, if powders or tinctures are better.
The general consencious on this question is that tinctures are the ideal form to use Pine Pollen if the overall goal acessing the phyto-androgens present in it (Mountain Harvest Pine Pollen Tincture).
Because tinctures are alcohol based, the androgens in the tincture do not go through the digestive tract as other Pine Pollen does, because the alcohol is absorbed through the cells lining the mouth, esophagus, and the stomach. This direct absorption offers the benefit of a very quick effect and it also means that the hormones are not damaged by the enzymes present in the digestive tract.
Visit our page The Adaptogenic and Androgenic Effects of Pine Pollen for more information on this topic.
Question: How do I take Pine Pollen Tincture?
Answer: There is no shortage of opinions available about how best to take tinctures and there is a lot of conflicting information about this on the internet and elsewhere. We hope to best explain the topic so that you can make your own informed decision (whether or not you choose to follow our advice).
Some of those selling tinctures (including herb-enthusiasts and herbalists) recommend using tinctures by placing them under the tongue (including Pine Pollen Tincture) and holding it there for a few moments, up to a couple of minutes. The reasoning behind this is that the tincture will absorb through the soft, delicate tissues of the mouth, particularly those under the tongue. As we have mentioned elsewhere, because the majority of tinctures are alcohol based, the compounds in the plant that have been extracted into the alcohol are able to pass through cell membranes and enter the general blood supply directly, without first passing through the small intestine.
With this, holding Pine Pollen Tincture (really, any alcohol based tincture) under the tongue does promote quick absorption.
The issue, however, is that the tissue under the tongue is very delicate, and alcohol is very irritating. This is why studies have found correlation between the use of alcohol mouth washes and mouth cancer, and why drinking alcohol places someone at a much higher risk of cancers of the digestive system. Because of this, we do not recommend people to take tincture using this method.
Does this mean that you have to do without quick absorbing tinctures? Not at all.
By using tinctures diluted in an ounce or two of water and drinking them, the compounds in the alcohol are still able to readily absorb across the cell membranes without having to be digested and absorbed in the small intestine. The difference is that in this method, you are not holding the tincture under the tongue, where the irritation is constant, localized, and focused. The tincture will absorb throughout the mouth, esophagus, and stomach.
Visit our fun, illustrated guide to using all of our products.
Question: Will Pine Pollen Cause Endocrine "Shut Down"?
Answer: Many are concerned about endocrine "shut down" in regards to the use of Pine Pollen. To better understand how our Pine Pollen products affect the endocrine system, it is important to first understand how hormones are regulated in the body.
The majority of hormones (over 99% of them) operate in the body in what is called the negative feedback mechanism, meaning that when there are optimum levels of a certain hormone, the gland responsible for that hormone receives a signal that "shuts down" production on that hormone. When the levels dip, that gland is told to turn back on, and production starts again. The negative feedback mechanism is usually described as a thermostat in the house: The temperature is set, and as long as it stays warm enough and above that set temperature, the furnace stays off. One the temperature dips below the set point, the furnace starts up until the desired temperature is reached.
If the glands are not being used for the production of hormones, they can begin to atrophy. Bio-identical (pharmaceutical) hormone replacement therapy, and the abuse of steroids for building muscle, will cause atrophy of the glands responsible for the production of the hormones that are being replaced. This is because the hormones are identical to the hormones that the body produces. With a constant flooding of identical hormones, the body does not produce any of its own, leading to atrophy.
The androgens in Pine Pollen are similar enough to not cause any of the undesirable side effects of pharmaceutical hormones, and will not cause "shut down," but they are close enough to provide all the benefits of having elevated levels of hormones. Not sensing an abundance of its own hormones, the body keeps on producing hormones, while you benefit from Pine Pollen's effects.
In the past, there was a self-reported story on the Internet of a body builder who experienced some kind of endocrine shutdown while abusing Pine Pollen Tincture (this was before we were in business and we would never condone such action). This person was drinking several bottles of tincture a day. Since we have been carrying our Pine Pollen Tincture (4 years), we have not heard of a single incidence of abuse or negative reaction to our tincture. I truly believe, based on my research and experience, this person did not experience any kind of negative effect from the tincture.
Like all nutritional supplements and foods, the body likes change. we recommend taking a few days off of Pine Pollen every few weeks, just like we recommend taking a few days off of all vitamins and nutritional supplements, and varying the diet daily.
Use of pine pollen as a food or a supplement is considered safe for most. Use of it as a tincture should be reserved for those with a mature endocrine system (post puberty/18 years + of age) with low levels of testosterone.
Stephen Buhner, author of (among many other fantastic books), "Healing Lyme", "The Natural Testosterone Plan", and "Pine Pollen, Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium, in which he writes that:
"Pine pollen tincture is for men in middle age or older or for those with the various kinds of disease conditions that pine pollen helps rectify. Pine pollen powder, on the other hand, can be used as a nutrient food or supplement by anyone with no restrictions other than for those with pine pollen allergy. It truly is good for all, female, male, child, adolescent, bodybuilder, or the aged. Except in unusual circumstances due to medical conditions, pine pollen tincture does not need to be used by adolescent men."
Question: What is the Shelf Life of Your Pine Pollen?
Answer: All of our products are stamped with a "best before" date on the packaging.
We recommend consuming our Pine Pollen Powder, including our Pine Pollen Capsules and Pine Pollen Powdered Extract, within one year of opening the package.
The RAW Pine Pollen Powder needs to be stored in an air-tight container, in a cool and dry place. The pure pollen and powdered extracts have the potential to attract moisture, and they need to be kept sealed and dry.
For optimal use, use the Pine Pollen relatively quickly after opening to prohibit any moisture accumulation and do not expose it to heat or moisture.
Question: What is the Shelf Life of Your Tinctures
Answer: A professional grade tincture is good almost indefinitely. One of the major benefits of using a tincture is that they are exceptionally stable and stay fresh and potent for a very long time.
Tinctures have shown the ability to retain their potency for several hundred years, and while we are very interested in promoting longevity and increasing the human life span, we assume our tinctures--including our Pine Pollen Tincture--will retain their freshness throughout the human lifespan.
Tinctures are able to remain fresh and potent because the active plant compounds have been absorbed by the alcohol, which acts like a solvent, turning the alcohol into a solution of the desired plant compounds.
The main concern with storing tinctures is the rubber stopper at the base of the lid. We keep all of our tinctures in an up-rite position in our warehouse, and we urge our customers to do the same. This prevents any interaction between the alcohol in the tincture and the rubber in the lid.
Question: Is Pine Pollen Only for Men or are there Benefits for Women, too?
Answer: For men who are high in estrogen and/or low in testosterone, Pine Pollen may help. But that does not mean it is only for men. Almost have of our customers ordering Pine Pollen are women. Because of the association between Pine Pollen and testosterone, many are left wondering if Pine Pollen is of use for women as well. Historically, Pine Pollen has been used by men and women alike and the research done today into Pine Pollen shows benefits of the herb for everyone.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in my own experience, Pine Pollen is specifically indicated for women seeking to restore healthy hormone levels of estrogen to testosterone. The same dietary and lifestyle concerns for men and cause a myriad of cascading problems in women as well. For building energy and vitality, in men and women, especially at menopause/Andropause, pine pollen is fantastic. Elevated levels of estrogen in women will lead to bone loss and sexual malfunction, and pine pollen may reverse these effects.
High levels of environmental (xeno) estrogen, and the high amounts of (phyto) estrogen found in the diet have detrimental health risks for women and men alike. Just recently in was found that nearly all women with breast cancer have BPA in their breast tissue. BPA is a known xeno-estrogen. As women, just like men, have rising levels of estrogen, and subsequently lower levels of androgen (male sex hormones), different diseases and symptoms emerge, like osteoporosis, wasting muscle tone, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and low libido. Women and men both have an ideal ratio of sex hormones, a testosterone to estrogen ratio (both sexes manufacture estrogen and testosterone). This ratio is thrown off due to outside sources of estrogen and cause all the issues stated in this article. Pine Pollen restores this balance by both directly supplementing with the androgen (male sex) hormones, and also in aiding the healthy detoxification of xeno-estrogens.
Of particular interest to women and men alike, are the beneficial effects of Pine Pollen on skin health. Throughout China and other parts of Asia, Pine Pollen is consumed to relieve symptoms of acne, diminish wrinkles and improve skin tone and elasticity. Pine Pollen is able to do this both by its nutritive compounds and its androgenic compounds, building the underlying skin matrix.
Some women might be concerned about androgens and secondary male sex characteristics, like hair growth and voice deepening. These secondary male sex characteristics are actually brought on by 5α-Dihydrotestosterone, a metabolite of testosterone. In men, the anterior-pituitary gland secretes Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). LH and FSH convert Testosterone to DHT.
Question: Do We Prefer Pine Pollen Tincture or Pine Pollen Powder?
Answer: I originally became interested in Pine Pollen Tincture as a medicine to rebuild my system after a chronic illness and the treatment of that illness. Pine Pollen Tincture brought me back from illness to health. I think that it is fantastic, especially because it is to easy: a dropper full under the tongue three times a day. This is able to produce noticeable effects, which increase over time.
The Raw Pine Pollen Powder is more of a food, and will be targeting the entire system--not just supplementing with phyto-androgen hormones. Think Pine Pollen Powder (not the tincture) less like a medicine and more like the most nutritious food that you could ever get your hands on. Your body will respond in very positive ways to having proper nutrition. I eat the Pine Pollen every single day, because it makes me feel 500%, as a complement to my diet. Here, I'm not targeting the testosterone that is in Pine Pollen, but using it as a nourishing food. Different, though similar, applications.
While I want every man to be aware and engaged in the excess levels of estrogen in our bodies, and how a lot of prevalent health concerns are caused by this, and that Pine Pollen tincture is a easy and effective way in restoring the delicate endocrine system (specifically that ratio of testosterone to estrogen), you ask me what I prefer, and in my own practice, I prefer the raw food.
If you are interested in our Pine Pollen Tincture for the phyto-androgens, I would highly recommend a combination of the two as a long term goal, and the eventually stopping the Pine Pollen Tincture and just consuming the whole food--the Pine Pollen.
Question: How Should I use Pine Pollen Powder?
Answer: We receive many, many e-maisl from people wondering how to use best use their raw pollen powders. When we first started RAW Forest Foods, this was definitely one of the top FAQs we were receiving.
First of all, we always say that the best way to take an herb is the way that ensures that you'll be taking it regularly. Pine Pollen is going to do very little for you if you forget to take it or if the conception of the best way to take it makes it so that there is never the right opportunity for you to use it. So integrating it into your daily routine is going to be key.
For the RAW Pine Pollen Powder, our favorite was to use it is to simply mix it into water. We usually use one tablespoon (which is more than is suggested on the package) for 32 ounces of water, such as a quart mason jar or a large Klean Kanteen bottle. Whatever you have on hand works great. Simply mix the two and shake. Drink it over the course of an hour or so.
There is some ample basis for using pine pollen and any androgenic herbs first thing in the morning. This is because testosterone naturally peaks in the body at around nine in the morning. Taking your Pine Pollen at this point in the day help to replicate the natural cycles of the body. Personally, I find it best to use in the early afternoon, but this is personal preference.
Some find all types of Pine Pollen to be very stimulating, so much so that taking it late in the day may cause some issues with sleep. Until you know how it affects you, best to use in the morning. I know that when I use a large dose after five pm, I can have trouble sleeping.
Some of the other methods that people have used for working Pine Pollen Powder into their day include:
Here is an old (but still relevant) video we shot showing how easy it is to use your Pine Pollen:
- Mixing it into their morning oatmeal or cold cereal;
- Baking with it by replacing part of the flour with Pine Pollen;
- Mixing it into a smoothie;
- Making chocolates with Pine Pollen as a major ingredient;
- Combining Pine Pollen with other herbs for a tonic elixir;
- Adding it to their morning coffee or tea.
Question: What are the Health Benefits from Pine Pollen?
Answer: We like to err on the side of providing our customers with all the available information on a given topic. We think that this is only fair. But the downside is that it leaves many customers confused about specific benefits, and many people write to us asking: What are the health benefits of Pine Pollen?
Pine Pollen is, first and foremost, a highly nutritious food. So when you are asking what the health benefits are, you are actually asking, "what are the health benefits of proper nutrition though consuming Pine Pollen?" And this is a very interesting question, a very interesting question which takes a little leap in our understanding of health.
There are a variety of health benefits, and RAW Forest Foods provides the herb in many different forms so these benefits can be availed efficiently. Pine Pollen seem to help raise testosterone levels and regulates estrogen levels and to help improve immune and systemic health throughout the body.
This little leap is a change in our understanding of "health benefits" and of "symptoms" of disease. Many (most? all?) of the rampant negative health conditions plaguing the modern world are not caused by a disease, in the convention sense of a disease being caused by a pathogen.
Rather, what is plaguing us is improper nutrition. We don't have symptoms caused by disease, we have--instead--the sub clinical manifestations of improper nutrition.
Let's take a look at how this new model of thinking fits into some conventional medical knowledge: scurvy is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. Now, in this new model of thinking, we would not say that Vitamin C is a cure for the symptoms of scurvy, but that a lack of Vitamin C causes a set of symptoms which we call scurvy, and that proper nutrition alleviates those symptoms.
In the same way, we see a lot of information on Cod Liver Oil, and how it treats/cures depression and heart disease. Depression and heart disease are not symptoms that effect a healthy functioning organism, and there is no cure or drug which will cure them. Not even Cod Liver Oil, and certainly not pharmaceutical drugs.
Instead, what we have are symptoms caused by inadequate nutrition. Cod Liver Oil does not cure these diseases; instead--and this is the important element--it satisfies the body's need for nutrition, relieving the symptoms of an improperly fed body. We have to look at the majority of disease as improper nutrition, because that is exactly what they are.
Through the consumption of Pine Pollen we see many positive health benefits.
Traditionally, and for literally thousands of years in China and Korea, Pine Pollen was taken to promote longevity and vitality. Current research shows its strong anti-aging benefits, due to its very specific amino acid profile. One of the most profound health benefits of Pine Pollen is the tonifying effects on the body and the huge increase of energy, caused by proper nutrition.
Pine Pollen is not a stimulating drug, and contains no stimulants, though it is more energizing than caffeine. Through its unique ability to restore healthy endocrine levels, it aids in recovery time from exercise, and aids in building lean muscle.
Pine Pollen reduces excess estrogen levels in the body, caused by the plethora of xeno-estrogen in the environment and the over consumption of phyto-estrogen containing foods, like soy, hops, and licorice. By reducing these levels of estrogen, and conversely raising healthy levels of testosterone, we see a massive change in body physiology.
In this way, we see energy increase, we see fat loss and an increase in lean muscle. We also see Type 2 Diabetes improvements, ED improvement, and greater libido. Less sleep needed and waking refreshed.
Using Your Own Wild-Harvested Pine Pollen
We fully support people harvesting their own herbs and transforming those herbs into medicines, this includes harvesting your own Pine Pollen and even making Pine Pollen Tincture. There is something hard to define but especially transforming about harvesting and making your own herbal preparations--and we are not above that.
The Cracked Cell Wall Difference
Answer: One of the major differences between RAW Forest Foods' Pine Pollen and the that which can be self harvested is that of digestibility. We process all of our Pine Pollen with a low temperature-high velocity process which cracks the individual cell walls of the Pine Pollen. We do this because Pine Pollen is highly indigestible--approximately 95% of the uncracked pine pollen passes through the digestive track undigested (as opposed to 99% of the cracked cell wall Pine Pollen being digested).
Making a Folk Method Pine Pollen Tincture at Home
Because of this, we always promote people making tinctures from their self harvested pine pollen. Because of the alcohol and time involved with making a Pine Pollen Tincture, the active phyto-androgens are able to be extracted out and into the alcohol solution, despite the pollen not being cracked.
In making a Pine Pollen Tincture at home, it is best to follow the folk method of tincture making: filling a jar with Pine Pollen (or whatever herb you want to tincture) and then filling that jar up with a 50:50 or a 40:60 alcohol water--like vodka. Let this sit for at least two weeks, and then strain and press. There is no need to separate the Pine Pollen from the catkins it is contained within.
While this is a very different process than making a standardized professional grade Pine Pollen Tincture, you will be awarded with a very special tincture, made by your own hands from the pollen you harvested yourself.
*These products have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any statements within this page or within the RAW Forest Foods’ site have not been evaluated by the FDA. This--or any--product or information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.