Bee Venom Therapy

The medicinal use of honey bee products is called apitherapy. This method of treating various diseases has been practised since ancient times. Today apitherapy is used to help patients who suffer from arthritis or other inflammatory or degenerative diseases.

There are at least 18 active substances in the composition of honey bee venom. Of all of them, the most prevalent is melittin- one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents known. It is a hundred times more potent than hydrocortisol. Other components have anti-inflammatory or analgesic activity. Apamin acts to enhance nerve transmission. Some substances such as Histamine play a role in the inflammatory response of venom. They soften the tissue and facilitate the flow of other substances. There are also some neurotransmitters such as Dopamine and Seratonin.

Bee venom therapy can be applied in a wide variety of medical conditions. However, there are four situations in which apitherapy can be particularly helpful:

  • First, patients who suffer from arthritis and other systemic inflammations may find great relief from if because bee venom reduces both pain and swelling. Even systemic inflammations such as ulcerative colitis and asthma may be relieved by these “terrible” bee stings.
  • Apitherapy can help patients with acute injuries such as tendonitis, as well as people suffering from chronic back and neck pain. It probably has a local anti-inflammatory effect, involving the humoral and cellular immune responses to a foreign protein.
  • Furthermore, bee venom can break down and soften various scar tissues. Even internal scar tissues such as adhesions from a surgical operation can respond to application of bee venom over the area.
  • Finally, bee venom is currently under research for use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The treatment is prolonged and and not for squeamish people. The result of it is, however, increased stability, fewer spasms and less fatigue.
Bee venom therapy is usually performed by a beekeeper or by a person specially taught how to use bees and practice it. The whole procedure is very simple: a bee is removed from a jar or hive with tweezers, then it is pressed over the injured body area, so that it stings it. The number and frequency of stings depend on the medical condition. A simple tendonitis may easily be cured, while multiple sclerosis takes months to respond. Some physicians obtain bee venom and store it in sterilized vials and inject it under the skin of  their patients. However, storing bee venom in vials may deplete its potency.

It may be strange, but inflammation, swelling, itching, etc. are desired effects of apitherapy. There is a risk of  anaphylactic shock so it is advised that there is a bee sting allergy kit available near the patient.