Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens. It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony, regardless of sex or caste.
When worker bees decide to make a new queen, because the old one is either weakening or dead, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.
Royal jelly has long been sold as both a dietary supplement and alternative medicine. Both the European Food Safety Authority and United States Food and Drug Administration
have concluded that the current evidence does not support the claim of
health benefits, and have actively discouraged the sale and consumption
of the jelly.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has taken legal
action against companies that have used unfounded claims of health
benefits to market royal jelly products. There have also been documented cases of allergic reactions, namely hives, asthma, and anaphylaxis, due to consumption of royal jelly.
However despite this, some scientific studies have shown possible
remedial effects against certain types of inflammation and cell stress.