Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae and adult queens. It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of nurse bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony, regardless of sex or caste.
During the process of creating new queens, the workers construct special queen cells. The larvae in these cells are fed with copious amounts of royal jelly. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.
Royal jelly is sometimes used in alternative medicine under the category apitherapy. Studies have suggested that royal jelly is likely to enhance collagen production, vasodilation, in reducing premenstrual syndrome effects, and as a postmenopausal treatment in humans, and against Alzheimer’s disease in animals. It is often sold as a dietary supplement for humans, but the European Food Safety Authority has concluded that current evidence does not support the claim that consuming royal jelly offers health benefits to humans. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has taken legal action against companies that have marketed royal jelly products using unfounded claims of health benefits.