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This is therapy using live bees, applied directly to the patient. Hippocrates referred to the medical use of bee venom, and still today, many beekeepers believe that bee stings are beneficial for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: it is often stated that few beekeepers suffer from this disease. However, this is anecdotal evidence. Despite the lack of scientific confirmation that sting therapy benefits chronic, incurable diseases, some sufferers of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are convinced that it does help. Venom therapy is also claimed beneficial for the relief of pain from tendon injuries, repetitive strain injury and other muscle injuries. Bee venom (harvested as described in Chapter 11) is now marketed in capsule form, making venom therapy available without the patient having to receive bee stings. One explanation for the beneficial effects of bee stings may be that it is a form of acupuncture. Indeed, some Chinese practitioners combine the two sciences into api-acupuncture. Acupuncture is widely recognised as a useful technique for relieving pain: it is believed that the acupuncture needles stimulate nervous pathways that cause the release of endorphins that are pain-relieving opioid substances. It seems possible that a bee sting could cause stimulation of endorphin production in a way similar to an acupuncture needle. Venom is a complex mixture of proteins and amino acids, enzymes, sugars and lipids. One polypeptide, melittin, is a major component of venom, and in humans it has the effect of stimulating the adrenal cortex (part of the adrenal gland) to release cortisol, a hormone associated with reducing inflammations and healing responses. This may also in part explain venom’s apparent success in easing inflammatory ailments.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purpose only. This is not an endorsement of efficiency or effectiveness of apitherapy. Severe allergic reactions and other risk may occur with apitherapy. Anyone attempting this therapy is doing the therapy at his or her own risk. We are not responsible for any consequences of apitherapy.

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