Taking a Sting In Stride , 0 Comments

Bee venom – it’s not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of alternative therapies! Whether you’re apprehensive about its use as a treatment because you’ve been stung by a bee, or because you simply don’t see how any type of venom could be beneficial to a human being, let us at least try to waylay your suspicions. The medicinal use of bee venom can be traced back to ancient Egypt, and even Hippocrates himself tried it. While the scale of scientific studies on bee venom is miniscule to date, holistic remedies have rarely relied on the approval of those in white lab coats. Witnessing the positive effects of a therapy first-hand, and seeing record of its use for hundred of years, is good enough for me!

Bee venom is purported to be an effective treatment for those suffering from arthritis, both osteo and rheumatoid. The process of treatment is known as bee venom acupuncture: the venom is administered on acupuncture points along the body, which soothes swollen, painful joints. The venom can be given as a shot, from a syringe, or directly from the bees themselves: in the latter case, the bees are held with tweezers or other small instruments, and then placed on the skin, where it stings the patient. Although this may not seem like a pleasant experience, it seems that those suffering from RA or OA prefer this to the discomfort of inflamed joints.

This joint-soothing effect of bee venom may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Among some of the compounds that have been identified in bee venom, 3 of them – apamin, adolapin, and mellitin – possess the ability to reduce inflammation within the body. It therefore makes sense that these could be some of the components of bee venom that make it a successful treatment for arthritis. Other troubles that it might treat are nerve pain, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, and severe allergic reactions to bee stings. It may seem counterintuitive, but treating a reaction to a certain compound with controlled amounts of said compound is known as immunotherapy. By exposing the body to small doses of bee venom, those who are allergic can become desensitized to it. This is known as venom immunotherapy. Of course, any administration of bee venom should be done by professionals, and a doctor should always be consulted before a course of alternative therapies is begun.

- Maria Vasylivna