Royal jelly (RJ) has been known for centuries, but in the last 5-6 decades its systematic production and consumption has increased. RJ is secreted by the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker honeybees (Apis mellifera). This thick and milky substance contains water, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals, vitamins and such bio-active compounds as acetylcholine, peptides, the hormones testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, estradiol, (hydroxydecanoic acid) (HAD), adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-N1Oxide, polyphenols, flavonoids and adenosine. Because of its bioactive compounds, RJ can be considered as a functional and nutraceutical food. The main goal of this review is to summarize and update its physicochemical properties, bio-active ingredients, storage stability and shelf life. The functional properties are antioxidative activity, insulin-like action, improvement against diabetes, liver protection, antitumoral action, neurotrophic action, antibiotic effect, anti-inflammatory action and wound healing, hypotensive effect and blood regulatory actions, anti-aging effect and skin protection, effects on the reproductive system and fertility and also fortifying, tonic action and immunomodulating and anti-alergic activity. RJ may cause allergic reactions, asthma and even fatal anaphylaxis in some humans. Therefore, RJ should be orally ingested as nutreaceutical agent or food-ingredient only after an allergy test.