Bee venom therapy is the use of bee venom for the treatment of many diseases.
Traditionally, live bees would sting arthritis patients in their painful areas. People with arthritis have also experienced cures from joint pain after they became beekeepers. Recently, processing techniques have allowed bee venom to be incorporated into forms that do not require being stung by a honeybee: these include creams, liniments, ointments, and injections ("shots").
The effects of the venom on the body are not entirely understood. Of the many effects on the body, scientists believe it affects blood and oxygen flow.
A common problem with bee venom is that some people are allergic to bee stings and this may cause death. These people would have problems breathing, a fast heart rate, and could die within 30 minutes. People with bee venom allergies should not try this treatment for any reason.
Bee venom therapy starts by injecting a small amount of venom and watching for severe allergic reactions. If no reaction develops, the therapy is continued by giving two bee stings or injections. Follow-up treatments are given every other day, slowly increasing the number of stings or injections.
The bee venom treatments cause pain, itching, swelling and redness in the injected area. These symptoms are expected and show that the body is responding correctly to the treatment. The more severe these local reactions are, the faster and more complete the recovery. It should be emphasized that these reactions do not include breathing problems or heart problems.
Many conditions have been reported to improve with bee venom therapy. These include arthritis, infections, nervous system disorders, skin ulcers, asthma, migraine headaches, back pain, skin diseases, joint infections, and vascular problems. It may also be used to treat multiple sclerosis.
Bee venom therapy is practiced by various alternative doctors, and lay apitherapists. There are specific protocols and rules to make sure it is safely used.
1. Inglis B & West Ruth: The Alternative Health Guide. Alfred A. Knopf, NY, NY; 1983: 120-132.
2. Woodham A & Peters, D: Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies, 1st ed. Dorling Kindersley, NY, NY; 1997:90-94.