Bee Venom: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects
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Bee Sting Therapy, commonly called Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) dates back to thousands of years ago, where it was used as a natural treatment for a variety of ailments in Ancient Egypt and Greece. Traditionally, the medicinal properties were cherished to treat joint pain and arthritis. However, it is still used as a natural treatment for illnesses including rheumatism arthritis which are hard to handle by modern medicines.  

What is Bee Venom?

Bee venom is a bitter, colorless and an acidic liquid. It contains a mixture of enzymes, sugars, minerals, and amino acids. (Hyun‐Jin An, 2018)1

The bee venom is produced by female worker bees and is comprised of several therapeutic components. According to Maliha Beg, Beekeeper and Apitherapist, “Bee Venom’s healing property is phenomenal and it can be used in small quantities for medicinal purposes.” Some of the major elements of the venom are:  Mellitin, Adolapin and Apamine.

Mellitin accounts for 40–60% of its composition2 and has the highest number of benefits to human health. It is considered to have anti-cancerous properties and is effective in killing aggressive breast cancer cells3 Mellitin produces anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritis effects once administrated to the patient. (Bae G., 2016)

In ancient times, it was introduced in the human body by manual injection or by direct bee stings. It is administered similarly depending on the condition.

Uses

Bee venom has multiple medical uses and is mainly used to treat rheumatoid inflammation, arthritis nerve pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), swollen tendons and muscle conditions such as fibromyositis.

There are a number of products available in the market including extracts, supplements, moisturizers, and serums with venom.

Maliha develops and provides bee venom products for various purposes such as a concoction for skin and face with sesame seed oil infused with bee venom, another concoction for arthritis and joint pain mixed with olive oil and bee venom extract. She says, “Bee Venom has therapeutic

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240132/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6720840/

3 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-53994058

applications in skin diseases and skin rejuvenation, including acne, scars, anti-ageing, eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo.” As a result, she has developed a mixture of coconut oil, lavender oil and bee venom for the treatment of skin disorders.  Bee venom is also a healing agent for hair loss given its ability to promote hair growth. For this reason, Maliha has developed a hair oil which helps to prevent alopecia and hair fall.

Benefits

According to research, bee venom has numerous medicinal properties. It is used to heal a variety of human illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a nervous system disease). Moreover, it has shown anti-viral and anti-cancerous properties against HIV, Ovarian, Prostate and Breast cancers.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

According to various reports, mellitin has anti-inflammatory effects for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and sclerosis. (Park H.J., 2004). Additionally, a recent study showed that bee venom reduces Atopic Dermatitis, the most common allergic chronic inflammatory skin disease. (Ong P.Y., 2016)

  • Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial Properties:

Mellitin has a potential treatment against bacterial and fungal infections because of its antimicrobial properties; in the right dose, the toxin weakens a cell until it pops, and it’s that ability to destroy one cell without damaging another that prompted scientists to explore its efficacy against diseases including certain types of arthritis and cancers, in addition to HIV and the aforementioned multiple sclerosis (MS).

Bee Venom and Covid-19

A few studies suggest bee venom could play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. A survey on 5115 beekeepers and 121 patients treated with bee venom by an apitherapy clinic in the Hubei province (China),reported that none of the beekeepers developed symptoms associated withCOVID-19. The authors came up with the hypothesis that immunity to bee venom could have a preventive effect. (Garvey, 2020) However, so far studies have suggested that bee sting may help in reducing the inflammation of COVID 19.

Maliha quotes, “I have treated my family and friends including myself with bee sting againstCovid-19 and none of us contracted the virus.”

Allergic Reactions & Side-Effects

When the bee venom is injected in a human body, there might be some allergic reactions or side-effects. Medical professionals must test a person for a bee sting allergy before the treatment.

The side-effects include redness, swelling, itching, trouble breathing, chest tightness, heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea sleepiness, confusion, fainting and low blood pressure.

Maliha recommends an allergy patch test on the wrist before using any bee venom product to avoid any allergic reaction.  She says to apply the product for five to six hours on the wrist and if there is no skin reaction, you can safely apply the product anywhere on the body.

Conclusion

There are several scientific types of research on the effective treatment of honey-bee venom to affirm what ancient healers have practiced for a long time. The ongoing work on the benefits and application of bee venom is still a long way ahead, proving to be beneficial in various therapies in the upcoming years. Emerging researches have proven the role of bee venom in reducing inflammation and improving circulation. Although, bee venom is safe for human treatment; it should only be used under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.


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