Most people experience a dreaded bee sting at some point in their lifetimes, so it should come as no surprise that some may feel skeptical about stings for medicinal purposes. Although it sounds strange, a bee’s venom can benefit human health; it can soothe pain and calm other side effects from various health conditions. We created a comprehensive guide all about bee venom therapy—if you want to learn more about this unusual yet incredible treatment option, continue reading ahead.
What Is Bee Venom Therapy?
First, let’s identify what bee venom therapy is and how it helps in treating specific conditions. Bee venom therapy (BVT) falls under the apitherapy “umbrella,” which involves using honeybee products—such as beeswax, honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and venom—as alternative medicine.
Ultimately, the treatment’s goal is to reduce inflammation and improve immune response through essential ingredients in bee venom. The bee venom, also known as apitoxin, is a colorless and odorless liquid that contains amino acids, enzymes, peptides, and volatile compounds. Melittin and phospholipase A2 (PLA2), two particularly major components, are key in encouraging the anti-inflammatory effects.
How Bee Venom Therapy Works
To initiate the therapy, you must obtain venom directly from live bees. A healthcare practitioner should initiate the treatment, but some people perform the sessions themselves. If an individual or patient chooses to administer the therapy on their own, they must speak with their practitioner first.
Before starting the treatment, an individual should apply ice to the injection area to numb the sting site. To identify a sting site, they must determine spots that meet with the body’s meridians. This is how people can yield the best results possible—BVT is very similar to acupuncture in that it requires strategic placement. After this, they can pick up a bee by its head or thorax with long tweezers or another precise instrument. It’s crucial to grab bees in a specific way, as you don’t want to damage its abdomen—or, most importantly, its stinger. From here, the individual can either receive a syringe full of the venom, or they can guide the bee to the sting site and insert the stinger into their skin. After the stinger penetrates the skin, the bee will release the venom. The individual should leave the stinger in for several minutes to obtain a full dose of venom and, in turn, release cortisol. Having cortisol in the body will help to reduce the inflammation.
Typically, a patient will receive venom through multiple stings in one sitting—even dozens of times in one session. The number of stings needed varies between people, depending on their condition. Many people commit to bee venom therapy a few times each week or roughly every other day. Patients or practitioners should also be careful to rotate the sting sites—this way, the areas previously stung can heal.
How Bee Venom Therapy Began—and Where It Is Today
Believe it or not, people have used bee venom therapy as a natural treatment for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In fact, ancient Egyptians used bee venom, and numerous countries in Europe and Asia practiced the treatment as well.
As the years went on, beekeeper Charles Mraz played a huge role in promoting bee venom therapy nationally. Mraz began research with scientists at Sloan-Kettering Institute and the Walter Reed Army Institute. He co-founded the American Apitherapy Society (AAS), a society that still educates both the public and the healthcare community about apitherapy uses and its results. Today, people all over the world continue to talk about bee venom therapy. Even some celebrities even support it; for instance, in recent years, Gwyneth Paltrow confirmed receiving apitherapy.
Fortunately, clinical trials continue to demonstrate that bee venom is a promising treatment for the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, Lyme disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis
- Central nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease
These conditions are just an introduction into how bee venom can help people. While bee venom therapy cannot cure or prevent cancers, studies have also shown it can ease side effects from breast, liver, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Further, BVT has even shown potential in defeating HIV particles. Considering the results the medical industry has collected so far, we can hope bee venom therapy will be a viable treatment option for more conditions in the future.
While anyone who has a hive could start bee venom therapy, it’s too early to recommend it to just anyone, given current research and studies. The medical industry must continue to gather credible research to deem it a mainstream remedy.
Please exercise caution when considering and starting this type of therapy. An individual may be hyper-allergic and not realize it, so they should keep epinephrine on hand. To determine potential side effects, it may be worth trying to test small stings before administering full stings. If you know you have a bee sting allergy history, avoid this practice entirely—you don’t want to trigger anaphylaxis, which results in life-threatening allergic reactions.
Additionally, bee venom therapy shouldn’t be the sole solution for the conditions we mentioned above—consult with your trusted medical professional for more information about how you should proceed with BVT.
We hope our guide could provide more insight into what bee venom therapy is and how it helps people. Of course, bees also provide a host of advantages outside of medical treatment, including benefiting the environment. If you’re interested in reaping all the benefits bees can offer, consider beekeeping. The B Farm offers nucs and live queen bees for sale online to beginner, hobby, and commercial beekeepers. You can pick up nucs at various locations across the country, and we even ship the queens nationwide. We’ve been in business for over 60 years, so you can rest assured we prioritize quality to every customer. For more information about our products, contact us via email or give us a call today.