Royal jelly is a milky white secretion produced by the pharyngeal glands of the worker bee. It consists of a complex mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, lipids, and glandular secretions. During their first three days of life, all bee larvae feed on royal jelly exclusively. Beyond that point, only future queens are fed this substance, which is responsible for their development into fertile adults, much larger and longer-lived than their sterile worker counterparts. Royal jelly is used commercially as an ingredient in various topical creams and lotions, and is also available as a dietary supplement.
Because no therapeutic use for royal jelly has been established, dosage recommendations vary. Studies on cholesterol-lowering in humans have used 50 to 100 mg per day. Although royal jelly has very low toxicity and is generally well tolerated at this dosage range, severe allergic reactions have been reported in some individuals.