Bee Venom is a form of toxin secreted by bees. For centuries, it has been used to treat multiple illnesses in humans. Bee venom has magnificent healing properties and is effective for the treatment of multiple chronic and autoimmune conditions. It has also shown to exhibit beneficial properties for the skin.
Bee venom creams, liniments, ointments and embrocations are popular ways to use bee venom.
What Is Bee Venom?
Bee venom is a transparent liquid which dries up easily even at room temperature. It has an ornamental pungent smell and a bitter taste. It is a blend of proteins with basic pH (4.5 to 5.5) that is used by bees for defense. Bee venom contains at least 18 pharmacologically active components including various enzymes, pep-tides and amines. Contact with bee venom produces a complex cascade of reactions in the human body. Giving repeated and controlled injections of bee venom under the skin makes the immune system habituated to it, reducing the severity of an allergy.
Uses of Bee Venom
Bee venom therapy is the use of live bee stings (or shots) to treat various diseases such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, sciatica, low back pain and tennis elbow. Bee venom therapy has the following uses:
Hypersensitivity to honeybee venom is mediated by a number of antibodies and immunomodulators. A series of bee venom shots under the skin (bee venom immunotherapy) seems to be effective for reducing reactions to bee stings in people with severe allergy to bee stings. Purified bee venom for under-the-skin injection is an FDA approved product. 1
It is speculated that honeybee venom may prevent the development or improve the condition of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This theory was largely due to the supposed swelling-reducing (anti-inflammatory) effects of bee venom and the observation that many bee-keepers don’t develop arthritis. However, research hasn’t completely justified this use. 2
Although poorly substantiated, one vital use of bee venom includes the treatment of diseases of the loco-motor system, particularly multiple sclerosis. However, there is no scientific consensus as to the safety and effectiveness of bee venom in the management of this disorder.3
Prevention Of Fibrosis
Bee venom may be a useful therapeutic agent for the prevention of fibrosis that characterizes progression of chronic kidney disease. Progressive renal fibrosis is the final common pathway for all kidney diseases leading to chronic renal failure.4
Research suggests that injected bee venom maybe effective in treating tendinitis, fibrositis, and rheumatoid arthritis. There have been certain claims made about its use in treating certain types of cancer, which haven’t been completely justified.
Though the bee venom has been studied to be safe for human treatments, the median lethal dose (LD50) for an adult human is 2.8 mg of venom per kg of body weight, i.e. a person weighing 60 kg has a 50% chance of surviving injections totaling 168 mg of bee venom. However, most human deaths result from one or few bee stings due to allergic reactions, heart failure or suffocation from swelling around the neck or the mouth.5
Healthcare providers give bee venom as a shot (by injection) to “desensitize” people who are allergic to bee stings.
Does Bee Venom Therapy Have Any Side Effects?
- Allergies – The benefits of bee venom therapy are still uncertain, therefore, taking caution is essential. Since, one to five percent of the population is allergic to bee venom, the patients must be tested before undergoing the therapy. A severe reaction after just three or four bee stings is extremely rare, but the danger grows with the number of stings. Moreover, the practitioner should have a bee sting kit at hand, which can treat allergic reactions.
- Pregnancy – High doses of bee venom are also very unsafe during pregnancy because they can increase release of a chemical called histamine, which can cause the uterus to contract. This might lead to miscarriage. Therefore, it is best to avoid high doses of bee venom if you are pregnant.
Bee Venom can be an elixir in disguise due to its therapeutic uses. However, despite the traditional usage of the same which shows promising results, more research is required to comprehend the mechanism and properties of bee venom as a medicinal agent.
|↑1||Konno S. et al-Increased expression of osteopontin is associated with long-term bee venom immunotherapy . J Allergy Clin Immunol . 2005;115(5):1063-1067|
|↑2||Price JH , Hillman KS , Toral ME , Newell S . The public’s perceptions and misconceptions of arthritis. Arthritis Rheum . 1983;26(8):1023-1028|
|↑3||Mund-Hoym WD . Bee venom containing Forapin in the treatment of mesenchymal diseases of the loco-motor system. Report on treatment results in 211 patients [in German] . Med Welt . 1982;33(34):1174-1177|
|↑4||Anti-fibrotic effect of natural toxin bee venom on animal model of unilateral ureteral obstruction-Hyun Jin An et al-Toxins (Basel). 2015 Jun ;7(6):1917-28. Epub 2015 May 29. PMID: 26035488|
|↑5||Studies on Bee Venom and Its Medical Uses-Mahmoud Abdu Al-Samie Mohamed Ali-International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology|