Does Using Pollen for Prostatitis Treatment Work?

Many men take pollen for prostatitis treatment as a natural option for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Graminex pollen extracts are standardized extracts of rye grass pollen (Secale cereal), corn pollen (Zea mays), and timothy pollen (Phleum pretense)You’ll also find them under the name Cernilton. Many men looking for a natural approach turn to pollen extracts for prostatitis treatment to help with their chronic prostatitis symptoms. Traditional medications such as antibiotics do not work for Chronic Prostatitis (CP)/CPPS patients because this form of prostatitis is not generally caused by bacteria.

Graminex pollen for prostatitis treatment is a Tier 1 treatment for CP/CPPS. Tier 1 treatments have the most successful clinical studies and research behind them. Even though many men take Graminex pollen on its own, many patients take it with other prostate supplements as well. One of the more popular combined formulations incorporates pollen extracts and quercetin (another supplement for CP/CPPS). When these two supplements are combined, the treatment is called phytotherapy. Phytotherapy is part of Dr. Geo’s “NPAT” CPPS Treatment Program. Conventional treatment programs recommended phytotherapy as well. Both pollen extracts and phytotherapy are treatments recommended for the Organ Specific domain of the UPOINT system for prostatitis treatment, which Urologists and other medical professionals use to narrow down symptoms, causes, and customize treatments that work best for those issues.

Pollen extracts have been shown to provide both anti-inflammatory properties and relief for the bladder and urethra. Their anti-inflammatory characteristics help in managing and treating prostatitis and other prostate conditions such as enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Some men with prostatitis experience urinary symptoms that are similar to BPH, so that it is important to understand how pollen extracts help both prostatitis and BPH, even for men with a normal prostate size. Pollen extracts have been found to cause the bladder to contract while simultaneously relaxing the urethra. Additionally, Cernilton contains a substance that inhibits of prostate cell growth. That is important for men to know as the prostate grows with age, and as it grows it can cause urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, nighttime urination, and issues with urine flow.

There is a difference between bee pollen and pollen extracts. The major difference is that bee pollen is collected by bees from a variety of flowering plants. Bee pollen contains pollen, but it also contains nectar and saliva from the bees, so the product is not standardized.

Pollen extracts such as Graminex and Cernilton contain pollen from specific plants, and the end product is standardized; that means that it contains the same amount of active ingredients in every batch. Many of the studies involving pollen and its impact on prostatitis and BPH use a dose of about 500 mg daily of Cernilton and Graminex pollen extracts.

Pollen for Prostatitis Treatment—Does It Work?

Graminex pollen has been well researched and used to manage prostatitis and BPH symptoms in Europe for over 35 years. Several double-blind clinical studies on the management of BPH have found it quite effective with overall success rate of 70% in BPH patients. Patients who respond to Graminex pollen typically experience around a 70% reduction in nocturia (nighttime urination), diurnal (daytime) frequency, as well as significant reductions in residual urine volume.

A number of scientific studies in both North America and Europe have looked at the effects of various pollen extracts on prostate health. Although it is not always easy to distinguish between the different formulas or terms used for the pollen extracts in these studies, the important thing about the studies is that they all involved a pollen extract, and that they demonstrated the ability of this supplement to improve symptoms of BPH and/or prostatitis. Is not that important whether they used Cernilton or Graminex pollen extracts because both names refer to pollen extracts.

Here are a few of the studies on using pollen extracts for prostatitis treatment:

  • An early study of Cernilton involved 90 chronic prostatitis patients. The men were divided into two groups: 72 men had no complicating factors and 18 men had complicating factors. All the participants took Cernilton three times a day for six months, and after three and six months of intervention them men underwent testing (e.g., digital rectal examination (DRE), uroflowmetry, and bacterial studies).

Overall, 97% of patients tolerated Cernilton well. Among the men without complicating factors, 56 (78%) reported a favorable response to Cernilton: 26 men (36%) had their symptoms eliminated, and 30 (42%) said they had significant improvement, including an increase in their urine flow rate. In the group of 18 men who had complicating factors, only one patient reported a response. (Rugendorff 1993)

  • Researchers reported a double-blind study in Urology, January 2006, a study in which 60 men with CP/CPPS were assigned to receive either a placebo or pollen extract preparation called Prostat/Poltit (which has ingredients similar to those in Cernilton) for six months. After six months, men who received Prostat/Poltit had either eliminated their symptoms or had experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms. The authors concluded that the pollen extract was “superior to placebo in providing symptomatic relief in men with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.” (Elist 2006)
  • European Urology published a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study on men with CP/CPPS that compared Cernilton in 70 patients with a placebo in 60 patients. The men either took capsules of pollen extract (two capsules every eight hours) or a placebo for 12 weeks. Compared with the placebo group, the men who took Cernilton reported significant improvements in their total symptoms, pain, and quality of life. The men did not experience any severe side effects. (Wagenlehner 2009)

There are also many studies on using pollen extracts for urinary symptoms of BPH. Sometimes men with CP/CPPS experience similar urinary symptoms, so it is important to consider research on how pollen extracts support urinary function and may help with those symptoms in prostatitis.

  • The British Journal of Urology published a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included 53 men with outflow obstruction due to BPH. The men took either Cernilton rye grass pollen extract or a placebo every day for six months. At the end of the treatment period, 69% of the men who took the extract said their symptoms had improved, compared with only 30% of the men who took the placebo. The improvements they experienced included a significant decrease in residual urine and in the antero-posterior diameter of the prostate based on ultrasound. The urine flow rate and voided volume did not change significantly between the two groups. The authors concluded that, “Cernilton has a beneficial effect in BPH and may have a place in the treatment of patients with mild or moderate symptoms of outflow obstruction.” (Buck 1990)
  • A total of 89 men with BPH participated in a four-month study, published in International Urology and Nephrology, in which 51 patients received Cernilton and 38 patients received Tadenan (Pygeum), another supplement. In the Cernilton group, 78% reported significant improvement in their symptoms compared with 55% of the Pygeum group. Patients in the Cernilton group reported a significant improvement in their uroflow rate and a decrease in residual urine and prostate volume.
  • The Cochrane Database Systemic Review reported on four studies on Cernilton on a total of 444 BPH patients. The trials lasted 12 to 24 weeks, and three of the studies used a double-blind approach. Overall, rye grass pollen (Cernilton) improved urinary symptoms better than a placebo. Specifically, rye grass reduced one’s need to get up several times during the night (nocturia) to urinate. The supplement did not improve urinary flow rates or prostate size when compared with placebo. The reviewers concluded from these findings that rye grass pollen (Cernilton) “modestly improves overall urologic symptoms including nocturia.” (Wilt 2000)
  • A Japanese study evaluated the use of Cernilton in 79 BPH patients who ranged from 62 to 89 years old. Cernilton was given three times daily, two tablets of 63 mg each per dose, for more than 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the men had their urine maximum flow rate and average flow rate increase significantly, while their residual urine volume decreased significantly. Their prostatic volume did not change, although 28 men who took Cernilton for longer than one year showed a mean decrease of prostatic volume. Improvements in specific factors were as follows: urgency or discomfort 76.9% improvement; dysuria, 71.4%; nocturia, 56.8%; incomplete emptying, 66.2%; prolonged voiding, 64.1%; delayed voiding, 62.2%; intermittency, 60.6%; and postvoid dribbling, 42.7%. Overall, 85% of the participants experienced benefit: 11% reported “excellent” results, 39% reported “good,” 35% reported “satisfactory,” and 15%, “poor.” In conclusion, the authors noted that Cernilton “showed a mild beneficial effect on prostatic volume and urination variables in patients with symptomatic BPH.” (Yasumoto 1995)

Uses and Side Effects of Pollen for Prostatitis Treatment

The standard daily dose of either Cernilton or Graminex pollen for prostatitis is about 500 mg daily. It is recommended that you talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider to determine the best dose of pollen extract for your needs. If you are allergic to pollen, you should not take bee pollen. An allergic reaction can include shortness of breath, hives, and throat, tongue, or facial swelling. Talk to your doctor before using pollen extracts if you suffer allergies to grass, flowers, or other plants.

References for Pollen for Prostatitis Treatment:

Buck AC et al. Treatment of outflow tract obstruction due to benign prostatic hyperplasia with the pollen extract, Cernilton. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br J Urol 1990; 66(4):398-404.

Chambliss WG. A critical review of Graminex flower pollen extreact for symptomatic relief of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men. National Center for Natural Products Research, 2003.

Dutkrewicz S. Usefulness of Cernilton in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Int Urol Nephr 1996; 28(1): 49-53

Elist J. Effects of pollen extract preparation Prostat/Poltit on lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Urology 2006 Jan; 67(1): 60-63

Rugendorff EW et al. Results of treatment with pollen extract (Cernilton N) in chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia. Br J Urol 1993 Apr; 71(4): 433-38

Talpur N et al. Comparison of saw palmetto (extract and whole berry) and cernitin on prostate growth in rats. Mol Cell Biochem 2003 Aug; 250(1-2): 21-26

Wagenlehner FM et al. A pollen extract (Cernilton) in patients with inflammatory chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a multicentre, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study. Eur Urol 2009 Sep; 56(3): 544-51

Wilt T et al. Cernilton for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000; (2):CD001042