It's that time of year again. Everything in the garden is covered in pine pollen. Anything that was white or cream last week is now a streaky pale lemon colour. The meter of rainwater in the pool is rather prettily swirled with yellow oily blobs, but I know the sticky tidemark will take a lot of scrubbing when the time comes. When I first started sailing in Turkey, I thought that this oil slick was the result of yellow paint being thrown into the sea because I couldn't imagine nature creating such a viscous, unappetising water pollution. For many years I've been openly cursing this golden powder that covers us, but using it as a good excuse to put off a Spring clean, as any work in the garden or dusting in the house is undone once the trees start producing.
Despite living with this phenomenon for over 30 years I have never thought to do any research - until this week and I've been completely amazed by the properties of pine pollen. Am I the only person in the world who has been tipping this golden dust into the bin, while a 50g packet is selling for a minimum of $15? Just think of the income I've thrown away.
Pine pollen has been used as an anti-aging food in China and Korea for 1000s of years but it's only recently that research has shown why. This is a brief summary of the information available. The plant produces sterols that are close enough to our hormones to have a similar effect when taken by humans. It is an androgenic herb which will increase our four main androgens; androsterone,androstenedione, DHEA and testosterone. It contains Vitamins A,B1,B2,B3,B6, folic acid, D, E plus most of the minerals and over 20 amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is claimed to increase immune and endocrine function, reduce sensitivity to pain, lower cholesterol, stimulate rejuvenation, and act as an anti-inflammatory, anti- arthritic and anti-viral. Those interested in its testosterone increasing properties should make it into a tincture by infusing with alcohol. A commonly found recipe suggests adding the pollen to equal amounts of vodka at the new moon, leaving until the next new moon and then straining through an unbleached coffee filter. Made into a cream it's said to improve eczema, acne and impetigo. The rest of us can just add the raw pollen to our food. So far I haven't found any dosages mentioned so I don't recommend trying this at home without further research. Next year I won't be complaining at the mess, I'll be out with a large stick and bag collecting my own supply of "miracle dust".