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:
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.
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”
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.
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.