Apitherapyis the medicinal use of honey bee products in general, while bee venom therapy (BVT) is the use of the bee venom for the treatment of human diseases. Apitherapy has been known since biblical times, while BVT> has been used for over twelve centuries. Currently, this method is being used extensively in China, Korea, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia and in the USA, where tens of thousands of people has been treated by this method.
Bee venom, introduced sub-cutaneously, by live bees or by injection, of an extract of bee venom alleviates many chronic ailments including rheumatic diseases which involve inflammation and/or degeneration of connective tissue (e.g., different types of arthritis and non-articular rhumatism), neurological diseases (migraine, peripheral neuritis), chronic pain conditions (fibromyalgia, failed back syndrome), autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, lupus), and dermatological conditions (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis). Substances in bee venom soften cheloids and other types of scar tissue, and causes them to fade. Internal scar tissue, such as adhesions resulting from surgery, may also respond to treatment with bee venom.
In the US, Dr. Christopher Kim has an NIH approved protocol for treatment of chronic pain with bee venom; several research programs are currently under way, with MS taking an increasingly important place in research studies and clinical trials. There are over 1,500 published articles related to BVT (for review see Cherbuliez, 1996; Kim, 1997).
Bee venom contains approximately 40 components, of which at least 18 are active substances. Melittin is one of the most prevalent substances in the venom and is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents known. Adolapin is anti-inflammatory and also has analgesic properties. Apamin inhibits complement activity, thus enhancing nerve transmission. Bee venom also contains hyaluronidase, phospholipase, histamine and mast cell degranulating protein, which have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-pyretic activities and stimulate ACTH and vascular permeability.
In Brazil, BVT is used for asthma, while in China people suffering from neurological conditions, joint and connective tissue problems, benign tumors of the skin, impotence and neuroses are treated by this method.
Propolis is the most ubiquitous anti-infectious agent, and acts on viruses, fungi, bacteria and unicellular infectious agents. It is analgesic, an ideal remedy for the treatment of chronic infected wounds and has some indications in dentistry.
Pollen therapy is indicated for cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, vascular fragility and for dermatological, neurological and genito-urinary conditions.
Honey is applied locally, e.g., on wounds or taken orally for insomnia, asthenia, anorexia, heart insufficiency, gastro-intestinal ulcer, osteoporosis and pharyngo-laryngitis. It acts as a vehicle for compounds such as essential oils and it is indicated for systemic infections.
Royal Jelly has been used for centuries in China as a primer of the immune system for BVT and as an anabolisant. At high doses it has antiviral properties.
Copyright © 2007 Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Last modified: 01/01/07