Medicine: Bee Venom
Bee venom therapy is a specific treatment that I use for patients with arthritis. Although use of bee stings to treat osteoarthritis may raise eyebrows, it is in fact a therapy that was widely used in folk medicine. Peasants throughout the world have used the practice of placing honey bees on their sore joints and muscles to treat their arthritis and pain.
We do not know the exact reasons why bee venom therapy works, or which specific components of bee venom have a healing effect. Consider, however, the fact that conditions like osteoarthritis, bursitis and tendonitis are due to a gradual process of sclerosis or mineralization. The body attempts to bring balance in these situations by creating an inflammation, but in many cases the body’s attempt to heal through inflammation is too weak.
Stinging the sore joint with a honey bee dramatically increases inflammation and brings more blood to the area. Bee venom has a component that relieves pain, by bringing bringing warmth to the affected area. The warmth and inflammation from the bee sting also increases the body’s ability to dissolve excessive mineralizations. As a potent local stimulator of inflammation, bee venom thus fulfills exactly the healing requirements for osteoarthritis. It increases the heat or warmth in the joint, and it increases the ability of the body to dissolve the excessive mineral deposits that are the hallmark of arthritis.
Because I use bee venom therapy in my practice, I share with you below several research papers and studies on this therapeutic treatment.
I have included below a selection of papers, studies and trials that have been conducted using bee venom therapy. Click on the link at Abstract to read the full abstract at the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s National Library of Medicine website, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Please note that this is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a doctor.
Selected Papers Abstracts link to NCBI’s National Library of Medicine PubMed site
Antiarthritic effect of bee venom: inhibition of inflammation mediator generation by suppression of NF-kappaB through interaction with the p50 subunit.
Park HJ, Lee SH, Son DJ, Oh KW, Kim KH, Song HS, Kim GJ, Oh GT, Yoon do Y, Hong JT.
College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, 48 Gaesin-dong, Heungduk-gu, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, South Korea. Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Nov;50(11):3504-15.
To investigate the molecular mechanisms of the anti-arthritic effects of bee venom and melittin, a major component of bee venom, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-inflammatory effect of bee venom on type II collagen-induced arthritis.
Lee JD, Kim SY, Kim TW, Lee SH, Yang HI, Lee DI, Lee YH.
Research Group of Pain and Neuroscience in Vision 2000 Project East-West Medical Research Institute, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(3):361-7.
This study was designed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and anti-cytokine effect of bee venom on a murine type-II collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model.
Inhibition of COX-2 activity and proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-1beta) production by water-soluble sub-fractionated parts from bee (Apis mellifera) venom.
Nam KW, Je KH, Lee JH, Han HJ, Lee HJ, Kang SK, Mar W.
Natural Products Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-460, Korea. Arch Pharm Res. 2003 May;26(5):383-8.
A study of the anti-inflammatory activity of the n-hexane, ethyl acetate, and aqueous partitions from bee venom (Apis mellifera).
The effect of whole bee venom on arthritis.
Kang SS, Pak SC, Choi SH.
College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea. Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(1):73-80.
This study was performed to assess the clinicotherapeutic effect of whole venom of honeybee (Apis mellifera) in adjuvant-induced arthritic rat.
The analgesic efficacy of bee venom acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis: a comparative study with needle acupuncture.
Kwon YB, Kim JH, Yoon JH, Lee JD, Han HJ, Mar WC, Beitz AJ, Lee JH.
Department of Veterinary Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Suwon, Korea. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(2):187-99.
A study to determine whether bee venom (BV) administered directly into an acupoint was a clinically effective and safe method for relieving the pain of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) as compared to traditional needle acupuncture.Publication Types: Clinical Trial, Randomized Controlled Trial