"Bee Venom" From Seven Health Secrets From The Hive

bee venom

By Charles Robson - This article appears on http://www.dancingbeeacres.com/Bee.html

What is bee venom?

The venom of Honeybees is stored in the poison sac, which empties into the base of the stinger. A newly emerged bee has very little venom, but the amount gradually accumulates with age, to about 0.3 mg in 15-day-old bees. After the age of guard bees is reached (18 days), no additional venom is produced. Subsequently, the weight of the venom in the poison sac remains unchanged, and cannot be replenished after the sac is emptied.
Without Pollen, a bee is unable to manufacture venom. Bee venom is a clear liquid with a sharp, bitter taste, an aromatic odor and an acidic reaction. It dries quickly at room temperature.


Bee Venom is more toxic than wasp venom. On rare occasions, one sting is capable of causing death by anaphylactic shock to persons who are hypersensitive. Unless prompt medical relief is given, such persons may die within 30 minutes. If you happen to be a person who is allergic to stings, or know someone who is, you can send for a 13 page booklet: "Insect stings," for 50 cents from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 19 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. This excellent booklet describes symptoms of true allergic reactions, treatment, insects and their habits and preventing stings. Under more normal circumstances, however, it would probably require at least 500 stings over a short period of time to cause death by direct toxicity.

Composition and properties of bee venom

The components of Bee Venom have been reviewed and summarized in papers by a least four scientists from 1955 to 1972. Bee Venom is quite complicated chemically. It contains several biochemical or pharmacologically active substances, including at least the following: histamine, dopamine, melittin, apamin (mast cell destroyer - MCD), peptide, minimine, and the enzymes - phospholipase A, and hyaluronidase. There are at least eight protein fractions of Honeybee Venom, of which phospholipase A, melitten, and apamin are the three major ones.
For years Bee Venom was thought to be formic acid. Finally it was discovered that there was no formic acid in it. It is a complex mixture of pesticides phospholipase, mellitin, apamin, etc. (over 35 fractional components). The collected venom is as powerful as live bee stings.

Uses and potential uses

Bee Venom has potential use in the medical field. Some interest has been expressed in introducing a pure Bee Venom product on the American market to be used in two ways. One use would be for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and another use would be for the desensitisation of hypersensitive individuals. The idea of using Bee Venom for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is centuries old, and is based on the fact that beekeepers are seldom affected with this disease. Bee Venom therapy has long been practiced in Europe: and in recent times has been advocated for use in the United States by two physicians, Dr. Beck and Dr. Broadman.

Venom collector

The author has recently received U.S. Patent # 4,739,531 for an invention to collect Bee Venom. This invention consists of a removable slide which encompass a series of electrical wires running parallel, with an opening wide enough for the bees to squeeze through. The main reason for this invention was to allow the use of the same trap for both Pollen and Venom collection. By simply removing the Pollen slide and inserting the Venom slide you can determine which product you want to collect. This method eliminates building two completely separate collectors and can be easily transferred from yard to yard. As the bees travel back and forth between these openings a low voltage shock (only capable of irritating the bee into stinging), is applied every five to ten seconds. Directly below the wires is a Teflon pad. At the time of the electrical shock - as the bee travels across the pad and up through the wires, she will sting the pad and release the venom onto the Teflon. A percentage of the time the stinger will remain with the bee. The Teflon pads are easily removed by the beekeeper for the extracting of the venom.

"Medical history" of bee venom

The fact that Bee Venom holds the key to the problem of approximately 40,000,000 people in the United States who suffer from arthritis and rheumatism is amazing. Actually, the curative value of Bee Venom was known by Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine" in Ancient Greece. He used Bee Venom and called it "Arcanum - a very mysterious remedy" and refers to it in his eight books on medicine.
The famous physician, Galen, 130 A.D., wrote of using Bee Venom, and Pliny the Elder, in about 14 B.C., wrote about Venom in his "Natural History." Charlemagne, King of the Franks, 742-814 A.D., is known to have been treated with bee stings. It was thought at that time that bee stings cured all sorts of maladies and great store was laid by the venom's curative healing properties.
Monfat (1600-1634) prescribed bees taken from the hive for reducing kidney "stones," the strengthening of the urinary tract, as well as for a number of other conditions. In 1859, Doctor Desjardins of France published the first scientific paper in the "Medical Bee Journal" describing his bee sting procedures, which he claimed he applied successfully in all kinds of rheumatic diseases. He even reported on two cases of skin cancer, which he says he was able to cure.
Professor Libowsky of St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1864, reported in the "Courier Medical" about his success with bee stings in rheumatism and cases of neuralgia. As far back as 1850, Dr. Schwabe, Germany; Dr. Hale, England; Drs. March and Altschul, Germany; Dr. Goullon, France; D.C. Wolfe, Germany; and others, reported in reliable scientific papers their good results treating rheumatic patients with bee stings.
Dr. Phillip Terc of Marburg, Austria, in 1879, became interested in the venom of Honeybees when he was accidentally stung by bees and "cured" of several arthritic conditions he had. He became the first physician to apply bee stings in a systematic way to the treatment of rheumatic diseases in his patients. His first publication on the subject appeared in the Vienna medical press in 1888. It was the "Report About a Peculiar Connection Between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism."
Dr. Terc, although he was laughed at throughout his career by the orthodox medical world, reported that during 25 years he had applied 39,000 bee stings to about 500 rheumatic patients without a complication, a so-called side effect or fatality. Most of these patients were lastingly benefited. At a medical meeting, Feb. 11, 1904, he invited the medical profession to accept Bee Venom therapy. "Years ago I was called to a patient who previously had been treated for rheumatism of the joints, but completely without any success. This lady was not able to move in her bed, suffered with a severe heart disease, and, having heard about Bee Venom, desperately wanted to try this treatment. After I had examined her very carefully and decided to take the risk, a relative of hers remarked, 'are you actually contemplating to torture this death bound person?' I first applied one single sting, then after half an hour, two stings, and after another hour again, two more. She tolerated them well without hardly feeling any pains on application. I stayed for half a day with her to keep her under observation and finally felt entitled to promise her complete recovery. The next day I showed her gardener, a beekeeper himself, how to apply the stings, and three weeks later the "death bound" patient left her bed for the first time in years… At the last examination she was not only completely cured of rheumatism but, at the same time, the previous murmur of her heart had entirely ceased."
Dr. Terc claimed that following bee sting therapy high blood pressure or low blood pressure tended to reach normalcy. Dr. Terc used the treatment for forty years. He often said he was convinced that almost all true arthritis and rheumatism can be radically and permanently cured with bee stings, except those cases of many years standing, where the joints already have been destroyed and ossification has taken place.
Unfortunately, Dr. Terc's observations and all those preceding reports, found little response from his colleagues and were forgotten. Medical leaders seem to have a peculiar gift for forgetting important discoveries.
In 1928, Dr. Franz Kretschy of Vienna, continuing Dr. Terc's work, invented an injectable form of Bee Venom. Obviously though, the recognition of Bee Venom for which Dr. Terc and Dr. Kretschy worked and hoped for during so many years has not yet been achieved in the United States.
Dr. Bodog Beck of New York City used Bee Venom Therapy from 1935 to 1942. Dr. Beck's work ceased during World Was II and then the discovery of cortisone diverted attention from Bee Venom therapy. Still some of his students and a few others kept his interest alive.
Dr. C.B. Warren started funding some research on dogs, cats and horses with good results. Dr. Bodog Beck in his book "Bee Venom Therapy", 1936, used a quotation concerning Bee Venom from the Koran, chapter XVI, 71: "There proceeded from their bellies a liquor wherein is a medicine for men."
Instead of using suppressive drugs, Bee Venom stimulates production of natural immunotherapy (through the pituitary and adrenal glands) and causes the body to produce natural cortisone. Even treatments on pain from various causes will respond to treatment with Bee Venom therapy. Also, it has been known to restore paralysed legs, and open end fractures, reduce calcification of arthritic areas. It has been known to normalize menstruation periods in women, increase sperm count in men, also, effective in the treating of shingles (having an anti viral effect), also in the remission of tumors of many different types of malignant diseases.
How is all this possible? By stimulating many different functions. Perhaps gaining an understanding of how Bee Venom works will lead to development of something even better. Bee Venom will lead the way to a new approach to healing - safe, effective and low-cost.

International conference on apitherapy

International Conference on Apitherapy, 1983, Dr. Charles Mraz: Systematic treatment of Rheumatic and Degenerative Diseases with Honey Bee Venom has been known for over one hundred years. During the last decades there was a significant advance in studying the composition, biological properties and clinical applications of Bee Venom in eastern and western countries. Today Bee Venom is well known as a natural product for curing rheumatic diseases, degenerative diseases, arthritic conditions, other conditions (such as intense pain from burn scar tissue, injury, surgery) stimulating healing of bone in non healing fractures and in curing immune deficiencies and auto immune diseases.Dr. Mraz feels that the day is very near when Bee Venom will open up a new science of healing and a new immune therapy, which is just beginning to be used.
The Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology, and the Cancer Research Institute at San Francisco reported on the following: The inhibition of growth of leukemic cells by inhibitors of calmodulin: phenothiazines and melittin. Drs. Lavin and Meiss summarized the study on leukemic cells.
"Of the three methods tested more potent inhibitors have been identified. Specifically, melittin, a major polypeptide component of Bee Venom was one of the most potent of these agents. We now report that several drugs that inhibit the activity of calmodulin inhibit the growth of murine and human leukemic cells and that melittin has the most potential cytotoxic activity."

Why bee venom is effective

The following paper was delivered by: Professor N.M. Artemov of Gorki University, USSR, in Rome, Italy in 1958; "The Biological Principles of the Application of Bee Venom in Medicine".
"The therapeutic application of both Bee Venom and its preparations is effected so far empirically, without a sufficient theoretical base. That is why the development of a medico biological theory of the Bee Venom effect on the healthy and the diseased organism is a problem of particular importance. This theory must throw light upon all known facts from the special point of view and make clear the complicated symptom complex of poisoning as well as the therapeutic properties of Bee Venom."
"The author of the present article succeeded in putting forward an hypotheses meeting the above mentioned requirements on the basis of the experimental data he obtained in his laboratory. He further examined his hypothesis from the biological and evolutionary point of view. The Bee sting and Bee Venom are known to be fit to protect the bee against its chief enemies - the mammals. As a result, the venom developed as a factor acting upon the most vulnerable and important systems of the organism (nervous system, blood) on the one hand, while on the other, mammals have developed the ability to react to venom by mobilizing all their protective forces and by increasing their resistance to it. As a result the venom has become the natural adequate stimulus of protective reactions of the (mammalism) organism."
"In fact the analysis of the symptom complex of poisoning with Bee Venom gives us the opportunity of subdividing its symptoms into two categories: (a) symptoms depending upon the disintegration of cells and organs or the inactivation of some biochemical systems, (b) symptoms associated with the realization of the protective reactions. Such symptoms as hemolysis (red Blood cell destruction) and cytolysis (cellular destruction), muscular contractions, the blockage or nervous synapse and inactivation of enzymes (e.g. dehydrase) belong to the first category. The system of the mutually associated symptoms which indicate 'general adaptation syndrome' belongs to the second category."
"Among these symptoms are the shock developing at the beginning of the poisoning, the characteristic variations in blood, the increasing permeability of the blood vessels, the excitation of the pituitary- adrenocortical system and the change of reactivity in the organism; in particular, the increase of resistance to the venom. All of them have been carefully examined and studied in detail. It has been evidenced that the protective inhibition occurring in the cerebral cortex of animals after the injection of non lethal doses of the venom, shoud be also included in the second category."
"The therapeutic properties of the venom are quite obvious. They are associated with the mobilization of the organism's protective forces - in particular with the increase of the internal secretion of the pituitary and the adrenal cortex with the subsequent reconstruction of organism's reactivity. This is the reason Bee Venom is so effective in cases of rheumatic disease and allergies."
"Bee Venom's curative powers can best be explained by its simulating effect on blood and blood vessels - its ability to increase circulation. Blood cells transmigrate into the tissues after a Bee Venom injection. The venom opens the capillary walls, thus allowing the body a better elimination of waste matter as increased metabolism, which enriches the supply of oxygen within the body. Better circulation and intensified oxidation also help to destroy bacterial growth, in this way enabling a normal physical state to replace the pathological condition."
"Bee Venom attacks the contributing causative factors of arthritis and rheumatism; it does not merely treat symptoms as do the solaced 'wonder' drugs." Says Dr. Joseph Broadman, M.D., in his book "Bee Venom."
"It attacks at the cellular level where every disease begins. This is important because relieving pain or treating the outward manifestations of any disease does not indicate in any way that the disease has been removed. …By treating with steroids, there are added dangers of side effects. Bee Venom contains none of these dangers which can cause death."

Venom or extract ?

Rheumatic disease is sometimes described as auto immune disease. Cancer, also, is a result of hormones out of control. Bee Venom will stimulate each individuals endogenous system. Using bees to sting people is a difficult procedure for doctors not familiar with the practice of handling bees. In the 1920 through the 70's whole bees were crushed and the whole body extract was used as Bee Venom therapy. This was shown to be totally ineffective for treatment of either allergy or arthritis.

Acupuncture with bee venom

An article "Apitherapy by Acupuncture for Back Problems" by P.A. Potchinkova, Bulgaria, Apiacta, 1987, states, "The degenerative diseases of the spinal column and their neurological complications are serious problems encountered in medical practice and are a frequent cause of work absenteeism. In 60-90% of the cases, the clinical symptoms of these diseases, mostly radical in nature, are disorders of the peripheral nervous system. The neurological complications are often difficult to cure, relapses are frequent and the condition tends to become chronic."
"In treatment of such patients, Bee Venom can be used to anaesthetize and also to improve the local blood circulation to reduce the irritation of the sympathetic nerve and to neutralize the local inflammatory processes and angiospasm. The acupunctural application of Bee Venom to biologically active points combines the two methods, thus amplifying the therapeutical effects."
"After 5-6 sessions, favorable therapeutic results were observed. Sixty-six out of 100 patients who finished the treatment evidenced considerable results or even complete disappearance of pain, an abatement of the neurological symptoms of 50 to 100% and a remission of 1-3 years."
"In 23 cases, the treatment proved relatively effective. The pain incidence had been reduced considerably or recurred only in specific circumstances. The neurological symptoms decreased by 50%. In 11 patients, no improvement was found."
"Follow-up studies on 50 patients for a period of three years showed that in 45 cases the favorable results were lasting. Twenty-five patients were given a new shorter treatment with Bee Venom so as to prevent relapses. In these cases, the results were entirely successful."

Cancer in beekeepers

Dr. D.C. Jarvis, M.D. of Vermont writes in "Folk Medicine", "I spent two years checking the observation that beekeepers do not have cancer. Charles Mraz a beekeeper in Vermont helped me in this study. Together we were unable to find a single case of cancer in beekeepers or learn of one who had died of the disease. We did find a case of Hodgkin's Disease contracted before the man started keeping bees and eating Honey. It was cured after he began his new occupation. In his international search for cancer among beekeepers, Dr. B. Beck discovered one case. That was a man who died of skin cancer in Hawaii."
Dr. W. Schweisheimer, in an article in 'Gleanings in Bee Culture,' Sept. 1967 stated, "A strange observation some 20 years ago had been made by the Berlin Cancer Institute. Its scientists and doctors had never seen a bee keeper who was suffering from cancer."
"For many years they had turned their attention to this particular problem. Another discovery they made was that they never saw a beekeeper that was suffering from gout. This is an observation which has been described frequently and which dates back a good many centuries. It has been repeated time and again."
The annual Report of the New York Cancer Research Institute, Inc., 1965, stated, "Since acute inflammation seems to be one of the body's important defenses not only against infections, but against cancer, how cautious should we be in using the many anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the antihistamines, and more especially cortisone and its derivatives? Why do beekeepers have the lowest incidence of cancer? Perhaps it is because they are continually receiving injections of Bee Venom - i.e. bee stings, which cause an acute inflammation reaction, liberating histamine which then activates the reticuloendothelial system - another important defense mechanism against cancer."
The Third Apimondia International Apitherapy Symposium, 1978, Dr. B.N. Orlov, USSR, reported, "Of the many diseases treated with Bee Venom, its highest efficiency was recorded in affections (disease) of the peripheral nervous system (radiculitis, neuritis, neuralgia), of the joints (arthritis, spondylosis), and of rheumatic and allergenic affections. Bee Venom in its main constitute, Mellitin, accounts for fifty percent of its compositions. Mellitin is a simple polypeptide chain consisting of twenty-six amino acid radicals. Another polypeptide in Bee Venom is Apamine. The Apamine molecule is smaller than that of Mellitin, consisting of eighteen amino acid radicals. Another peptide component of Bee Venom is the MSD peptide, which degranulates basophil cells. It consists of twenty-two amino acid radical. Another polypeptide which has been recently separated from Bee Venom is Minimine whose chemical structure has not been sufficiently studied."
"In addition to the polypeptides whose molecular weight is small, there are also two other components in Bee Venom: Two enzymes - Phospholipase A and Hyaluronidase which play an important part in the effect of the Bee Venom. Phospholipase A splits lecithin - a phospholipid which is widely spread in the body, turning it into lysolecithin which degrades cell membranes. Hyaluronidase splits the hyaluronic acid - a constituent element of the fundamental substance the conjunctive tissue, thereby spreading the active factors of Bee Venom throughout the body."
"Bee Venom has strong effect on the functions of the cardio-vascular system too. Intravenous inoculation in animals caused decrease of the blood pressure in arteries for a short time. The duration of this effect depends on the dose of Bee Venom. With certain doses however, moderate reduction in the blood pressure was obtained which resulted in a higher blood flow in the vessels of the circulatory system. Another important action of Bee Venom is a stimulus for the activity of the hypophysis and the suprarenal glands." A polypeptide with 100 times higher anti-inflammatory effect than that of hydrocortisone has been recently identified in Bee Venom. Consequently, Bee Venom was successfully used in inflammatory affections in patients and in laboratory animals. American and Soviet researchers have reported an effect on protection from radioactivity. It was found that administration of non-toxic doses of Bee Venom in mice has substantially increased their resistance to X-rays as compared to the control groups.

In the Directions approved by the Medical Board of the USSR Ministry of Health, treatment with Bee Venom is recommended in the following affections :

  • Rheumatical affections
  • Non-specific infectious poly arthritis
  • Deforming spondylarthrosis
  • Affections of the peripheral nervous system
  • Tropic ulcerations and atonic wounds
  • Surgical cases of vascular affections
  • Inflammatory infiltration
  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Hypertonic affections - first and second stages
  • Iritis

The stimulating effect of Bee Venom on the activity of the hypophysis and suprarenal glands - determined by Soviet researchers, is the scientific support for the positive effect of Bee Venom in a number of affections. It is known that in collagen disorders, in allergenic affections, etc., treatment with corticoids (steroid hormones) and with adrenocortico-trophic hormones (ACTH) is applied. Stimulation of the activity of the hypophysis and of adrenal glands increases hormone secretion. In such cases, account must be taken of the anti-inflammatory action of Bee Venom. Another important effect of Bee Venom is the inhibition of ganglions, which explains its therapeutic effect in hypertonic affections and obliterating endarderitis. Another significant property of Bee Venom is its analgesic effect thanks primarily to its main component - Melittin. The analgesic effect of Bee Venom provides for considerably larger possibilities in particular in medical gymnastics.

Bee venom's effect on blood pressure

Dr. N.N. Anchichkov, USSR: Folk medicine is aware that Bee Venom lowers blood pressure. This property of Bee Venom is confirmed also by experiments with animals. In studies conducted with dogs it was proven that intravenous injections of the venom of one bee causes a certain lowering of blood pressure; injection of venom of several dozen bees causes a sharp drop in blood pressure. The drop in blood pressure caused by the effect of Bee Venom is conditioned by dilatation of peripheral blood vessels due to the presence of histamine in the Bee Venom, which possesses a vasodilative effect.
Experiments of pharmacologists showed that histamine has a vasodilative effect even in dilution's of 1:250,000,000 and 1:500,000,000. Many patients with hypertensive disease underwent treatment with Bee Venom or started working in an apiary where they were repeatedly subjected to bee stings. Their general state improved rapidly, their blood pressure fell considerably, headaches and irritability disappeared and ability to work improved.

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