Bee Venom in Holistic Medicine
Did you know that bee venom has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory? This doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the fact that bee venom is a poison designed to inflame.
Turns out, bee venom is a complex liquid containing both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds including enzymes, minerals, and amino acids.
One compound in particular - called melittin - has been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and even anticancer effects. Melittin is also responsible for the pain associated with bee stings!
At least three other toxins found in bee venom (apamin, adolapin, and phospholipase A2) may possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties when administered in small doses.
Bee venom is added to lotions, serums, and moisturizes for a variety of health benefits; studies suggest it may reduce acne and minimize wrinkles. Animal studies suggest bee venom may ease the symptoms of asthma, encephalomyelitis, Parkinson’s, and lupus.
In acupuncture, bee venom has been used to help relieve pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, acupuncturists will use live bees to administer the venom.
The most well-documented use of bee venom is to treat people with severe bee allergies. Surprisingly, the injection of bee venom helps patients product certain cells (T cells) that inhibit allergen responses, thereby reducing the future risk of life-threatening reactions to bee stings.
There are many side effects associated with bee venom, including: pain, swelling, redness, hyperventilation, appetite loss, fatigue, extreme pain, increased bleeding risk, and vomiting; in individuals with severe allergies, bee venom can result in anaphylaxis.
Important Note: The benefits and risks associated with bee venom remain unclear, as most studies have been conducted on animals or inside test tubes. Further research is necessary to determine if bee venom is an effective and safe treatment.