The Bees and I

My personal experience with bees.

Tamara Potselueva


A question, that I can not find an answer for and bothering me for a long time is: how bees can get diseases and even die from them if all bee products from the hive have curative properties? Antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, immune-stimulating, etc…. How can it happen that with the high group intellect that bees have they can not protect themselves and their brood from let’s say varroa mites? Or from ants invading the hive?

I keep looking for an answer from the hives, beekeepers and scientists, keep thinking… It is a puzzle for sure. The most reasonable explanation is that bees cure humans and need care in return, in this way right interaction is established, beneficial both ways.

My personal relationship with bees started a few years ago when we got our first 3 hives and gave names to their queens. Italian name “Lunetta” to Italian bees and Russian names “Marfa” and “Glasha” to Russian ones.

I started to use my own wax, propolis and honey with herbs from the garden for creating different healing substances. We were planning to do some mead as well.

Last year I have had a foot surgery. To heal the scars from surgery I used Calendula with propolis wash and honey application. Also I have made a “Healing All Balm” which included wax, honey and propolis from our bees as well as Echinacea, Golden seal, Rhodiola rosea and other herbs combined with self-made herbal oils. I treated bruises with Arnica. After the walking was allowed I had developed an inflammation of the motion compensating joint next to the surgery location, also a painful neuroma. Medication would not help much and I was not going to use any. The only alternative method was to try bee stings on myself. I have read a lot about apitherapy methods and different ways of its applications by that time.

We had 3 hives full of ready to use injections in our garden.

First, I had to check my sensitivity to venom and level of bee sting pain tolerance. My husband became a very skillful therapist in a short time. He had modified forceps to hold the bee gently and firm during sting. Unfortunately, we did not know yet about multiple treatment mesh and our bee-doctors had to sacrifice their lives to heal me, and die. It was very sad.

This year my husband has developed bursitis in his elbow and we are going to treat him, using “soft sting” bee saving mesh from Michael Simics. Now I shall be a healer. Meanwhile he is getting regular stings while inspecting hives and naturally feels better.

Every single bee venom therapist is using his own time proved system. I had to make my own plan of treatment.

I was interested only in the live bee sting method. Some practitioners claim “trigger” points should be stung while others use the “systematic” approach and generally sting the back. There is also disagreement as to weather or not the venom therapy requires supplementation.

Dr. Anton Terc was applying to patients daily up to 150-200 stings, he had used 39,000 live bee stings on his first 175 patients. He believed in “general effect” as well as the local one.

Dr. Bodog Beck also preferred a live bee sting and had a beehive on the window sill of his Manhattan office (so did Dr.Carey). He would start with a single bee sting to observe a patient for any adverse symptoms. Number of the stings would be gradually increased to twenty or more stings in a treatment every 1-2 ½ days, since the immediate effect of bee venom doesn’t last longer than 2-2 ½ days.

Dr.Beck had experimented with injectable bee venom and wrote a book on this subject “Bee venom therapy”.

Dr. Joseph Broadman, one of the biggest medical authorities in bee venom therapy used only injectable form.

Charles Mraz knew both of them and learned from both their extensive knowledge and experience. He was stinging the “trigger points” finding them by applying strong, slow pressure with thumbs around the affected area. In addition, he would sting corresponding area along the spine. He used the ice cubes to numb the skin beforehand. If the initial test sting showed no hypersensitivity, he began with 1-5 stings on selected trigger points. In acute cases most people got relief with 3-5 stings, 2-3 times a week. In treatments of the chronic conditions he was using 10-20 stings three times a week, sometimes for a year or longer.

“A person can take more, but more stings do not mean the arthritis will heal any faster.”

Dr. Naum Yorish would start with 1 bee sting on the day 1, increasing to 10 bees on day 10, then he would make a pause of 3-4 days and continue the treatment applying 3 bees daily for about month and a half. He had noticed a remarkable fact that patients for whom bee venom was indicated usually had no swellings and felt no pain after being stung by bees. When, however, their health improved and a complete cure was about to take place, some of the patients showed local reaction after even one sting.

So, we started with 1 bee sting in the heel, there was no swelling at all. Next day we did 2 stings: in the knee and ankle. I decided to do local stings. We increased stings to 8, applying bees every other day. In a week I started to develop swelling around the place of the sting. Then I have read that some doctors use bees in the site of surgery suture, that makes scar almost invisible and heals fast. And after month I tried the sting to the scar on my toe- that pain was intolerable! I had such sharp pain that could not stop weeping and screaming. That was the end of my apitoxitherapy for a while. After a month of rest I decided to use the “systematic” approach in the plan of treatment. My doctor recommended to do stings around shoulder blades and along the spine. I combined these areas with treating hips, knees and ankles. This general treatment seemed to work better in my case and I have continued it for the whole summer.

I used ice to numb the area before the bee application. I never went higher then 8-10 bees at a time. At the end of my treatment course swelling became minimal. Unfortunately, you can not become immune to the pain of the sting. There is always a discomfort associated with the administration of bee venom including pain, itching, swelling, inflammation and redness. Symptoms like redness, swelling and itching are desired effects of the therapy showing the response of the patient to the venom. The more severe the reaction(but not anaphylaxis), the faster the recovery.

Medical history of bee venom use.

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." Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) said bee venom is a racanum, a miracle medicine.

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. Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584) had similar experience in treating gout with bee stings. 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 (Dr. Desjardins, 1859). 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 (Libowsky, 1864). 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" (Terc,1888). 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, on February 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 War 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" (Beck, 1936). 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 paralyzed 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 of 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, 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” (Mraz, 1983). Dr. Mraz felt that the day was very near when bee venom would open up a new science of healing and a new immune therapy. The Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology, and the Cancer Research Institute at San Francisco reported the inhibition of growth of leukemic cells by inhibitors of calmodulin: phenothiazines and melittin (Hait, Grais, Benz and Cadman, 1985). They gave a summary of 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.

There are at least 18 active components in the venom which have some pharmaceutical properties. The effect mechanism of the venom is not entirely known yet. Scientists believe it can modify the way the immune system functions in the body and contribute to increased cortisol production.

The following paper was presented 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"(Artemov, 1958). “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 a hypothesis 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 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 mammal 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 and cytolysis , 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 venom should 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 stimulating 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" (Broadman, 1962).

Venom or extract?

Bee venom is most effective when it comes directly from the live bee during the late spring to early fall season when bees have a good pollen source to produce potent venom. Bee venom will stimulate each individual’s endogenous system. Rheumatic disease is sometimes described as auto immune disease. Cancer, also, is a result of hormones out of control. 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. Now days bee venom solution is prepared from pure bee venom (Apis Venenum Purum) and is a homeopathic preparation. It is administered intradermally just between the skin layers or subcutaneously under the skin to imitate the effect of a bee sting. Each injection is equivalent to or is less than the average dry venom sac content of a honey bee. Michael Simics, for example, has built several types of collector devices to obtain bee venom, which use electrical impulses to stimulate honey bees to sting a collector sheet ,and have made them available to venom collectors. In practice, he is using a microprocessor (computer) controlled collector device to collect bee venom for his own high quality bee venom products, such as:

Pure whole dried bee venom (Grade I., white powder).

Whole dried bee venom (Grade II., brownish-yellow powder)

Freeze-dried (lyophilized) bee venom (prepared from Grade II. venom)

Liquid bee venom.

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” (Jarvis, 1975). 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 (Beck, 1935).

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" (Schweisheimer , 1967). For many years they had turned their attention to this particular problem. Another discovery they made was that they never saw a beekeeper who 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.”

At 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" (Orlov, 1978). 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 Ministry of Health in Russia, treatment with bee venom is recommended for the following diseases: 
Rheumatical disorders 
Non-specific infectious polyarthritis 
Deforming spondylarthrosis 
Disorders of the peripheral nervous system 
Tropic ulcerations and atonic wounds 
Surgical cases of vascular disorders
Inflammatory infiltration 
Hypertonic conditions - first and second stages 
The stimulating effect of bee venom on the activity of the hypophysis and suprarenal glands, as determined by Soviet researchers, is the scientific support for the positive effect of bee venom in a number of conditions. It is known that in collagen disorders, in allergic reactions, 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 conditions and obliterating endarderitis. Another significant property of bee venom is its analgesic effect due primarily to its main component - Melittin. The analgesic effect of bee venom has great potential particularly in physical therapy.

Bee venom effect on blood pressure.

Dr. N.N. Anchichkov, USSR says, that 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 (Anchichkov, 1955).  Bee venom therapy is a classic example of the homeopathic principal, which states that a substance that produces the symptoms of a disease is a cure for that disease. Rheumatic diseases result in swelling, pain and inflammation. A bee sting causes the same symptoms. The sting stimulates the immune system to relive the inflammation caused by the bee venom, while relieving the symptoms of the rheumatic disease at the same time. Bee venom therapy stimulates the immune system through the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. This therapeutic effect stimulates the immune system rather than suppressing it, completely contrary to the effects of many drugs.

Bee venom main medicinal effects.

Bee venom produces the following effects on the various systems of the human body:

1. Nervous system.

Bee venom has the following influence over the nervous system:

— produces stimulating effect in low doses and sedative effect in high doses;

— produces evident analgesic effect;

— improves anticonvulsant activity;

— improves psychological state, memory and sleep;

— helps to reduce alcohol and nicotine addiction;

— improves cerebral blood flow;

— reduces brain edema.

2. Cardiovascular system.

Bee venom acts as:

— vasodilator;

— anti -coagulant;

— anti -aggregate;

— cardiac stimulant.

It produces the following effects:

— dilutes blood vessels reducing hypertension;

— prevents arrhythmias;

— increases blood circulation;

— produces anti arrhythmic effect;

— produces anti-anemic effect by increasing the hemoglobin and erythrocytes.

3. Respiratory system.

Bee venom acts as:

— bronchodilator;

— sputum dilator;

— expectorant.

4. Digestive system.

Bee venom produces the following effects:

— improves gastric and bowels peristalsis;

— stimulates enzymes, gastric juice and bile production;

— acts as anti-ulcer;

— produces anti-spastic effect;

— stimulates liver function.

5. Endocrine system.

Bee venom improves the following processes:

— production of corticosteroids by adrenal glands;

— normalization of thyroid gland and sex glands activity;

— reduction of blood sugar level.

6. Anti- inflammatory effect.

7. Decongestant.

8. Immune-stimulating effect.

9. Radiation protective action.

10. Bactericidal effect.

11 Normalization of metabolism.

12. Anti- allergic effect.

Main indications for bee venom therapy.

1. Nervous system diseases.

— Osteochondrosis;

— Neuritis and neuropathy;

— Pain syndrome of various localization;

— Some neurotic syndromes: hiccup, aerophagia, psychogenic deaf­mutism, stammering, tics, blepharospasm, tremor, night enuresis, anorexia nervosa;

— Autonomic nervous system diseases: hyper hydrosis, phantom-limb pains, Raynaud’s disease and syndrome, migraine, autonomic crisis;

— Multiple sclerosis;

— Parkinson’s disease;

— Epilepsy;

— Chorea and other types of hyperkinesis;

— Infantile cerebral paralysis;

— Cranio cerebral injuries;

— Arachnoiditis;

— Post-stroke condition;

— Paralysis and paresis;

— Poliomyelitis;

— Alcoholism, smoking, drug addiction and toxicomania.

2. Cardiovascular system diseases.

— Exertional or resting angina pectoris;

— Acute myocardial infarct and its consequences;

— Post-infarction and atherosclerotic cardiosclerosis;

— Cardiac arrhythmia;

— Myocarditis;

— Essential hypertension;

— Thrombophiebitis of lower extremities vessels;

— Obliterating endarteritis;

— Varicosis.

3. Respiratory system diseases.

— Chronic bronchitis;

— Bronchial asthma;

— Consequences of pleuritis;

— Pulmonary fibrosis.

4. Gastrointestinal tract diseases.

— Stomach and duodenum ulcer in remission periods;

— Chronic gastro duodenitis;

— Cholelithic disease;

— Chronic hemorrhoids.

5. Urinogenital diseases.

— pathologic menopause;

— tubal and hormonal infertility;

— chronic adnexitis;

— menstrual cycle disorders.

— chronic prostatitis;

— impotence;

— prostatic adenoma.

6. Musculoskeletal system diseases.

— Deforming osteoarthritis;

— Atrophic arthritis;

— Infectional and allergic arthritis;

— Spondylarthritis;

— Myalgia;

— Myositis;

— Muscle contractures, including those after bums and Dupuytren’s contracture.

7. Systematic diseases.

— Systemic lupus erythematosus;

— Scleroderma;

— Dermatomyositis.

8. Endocrine and metabolism diseases.

— Pancreatic diabetes of Type II;

— Thyrotoxicosis;

— Gout;

— Obesity.

9. Dermatological diseases.

— Psoriasis;

— Neurodermatitis;

— Eczema;

— Itch in different location;

— Dermatitis.

10. Allergic diseases.

11. Anemia.

12. Ophtalmologic diseases.

— Myopia;

— Conjunctivitis;

— Iridocyclitis.

Main contraindications to bee venom.

1. Bee venom hypersensitivity (idiosyncrasy).

2. Purulent infections.

3. Vaccination.

4. Tuberculosis.

5. Chronic hepatitis.

6. Renal insufficiency, hepatic failure, impaired cardiac functions and respiratory compromise.

7. Cancerous tumors.

8. Adrenocortical insufficiency.

9. Children under 5 years old.

10. Pregnancy.

11. Breast-feeding.

12. Type 1 pancreatic diabetes.

13. Use with Adrenocortical Steroids and/or Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

14. Use with Beta-Blockers

15. Hematological disorders

16. Venereal diseases

17. Psychosis, depression.

Bee venom application techniques.

There are number of techniques for bee venom application that are currently in common use. They are ordinary bee stinging, physiotherapeutic procedures (electrophoresis and phonophoresis), bee venom injections, massage with ointments/creams with bee venom, drops, honey and bee venom blends, solutions, liniments, liquids, tablets and homeopathic formulations.

1. Ordinary bee stinging technique.

Ordinary bee stinging represents the most widely used BVT technique. The first step is to discuss with a patient his/her bee venom tolerance. The next step would be to carry out an allergy test. For the allergy test a bee is attached to the inferior one-third of the forearm and the sting is left there for ten seconds.

After the stinger is taken out, the patient should be observed for the next 30 minutes to evaluate his/her general and topical reactions. The patient should then do a blood test, urinalysis and a urine glucose test. Test results will allow carrying out the next step: the stinger can be left in the skin for one minute. After this lab tests should be repeated.

BVT is prescribed when the general and topical reactions are satisfactory, the eosinophile content in blood is normal and urine does not contain protein or sugar. After 5-7 sessions all tests should be repeated. The tests performance routine is due to the danger of allergic reactions. It is essential that the treatment and tests are carried out by a doctor, trained in apitherapy. The doctor should be assisted by a nurse trained in intravenous injections and anti- anaphylactic shock procedures, which may occur in cases of bee venom intolerance.

1.1. Bee stinging to the painful points and zones.

Usually this technique is used for osteochondrosis, radiculitis, arthritis and neuralgia treatment. The bees are applied to the painful (trigger) point. The number of bees is increasing gradually from session to session and usually reaches 18-20 bees a session. This number depends on the disease, the patient’s pain syndrome and individual tolerance. The course usually consists of 9-21 sessions. Maximum exposition time is 10-15 minutes. The sessions are usually held three times a week.

1.2. The lorish technique.

The stings are applied to the outer surface of shoulders and thighs. On the first day, only one bee is applied, on the second - two. The number is gradually increased up to 10 bees to the 10th day. Then follows a break for 3-4 days. After the break, the number of bees is gradually decreased from 10 to 1 during 10 days. It is used mainly for treatments of neurosis and mental diseases. It can also be used in other pathological cases.

1.3. The Kuzmina technique.

Starting from one bee on the first day, the number of bees is gradually increased by one every day up to the 10th day. After a 3-4-day break the course is repeated, but the number of bees is increased by three times (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30) for every session. Indications for using this technique are the same as in cases of the Iorish technique.

1.4. Technique for specific diseases.

The stinging is carried out to the following areas:

— myopia in temporal area

— in case of thyroidal toxicosis - above thyroid glands;

—essential hypertension- in lumbar area

— neuro sensory deafness - the post auricular area, etc.

1.5. The Khismatullina technique.

(Apitoxireflexotherapy applied to the biologically active points).

Apitoxireflexotherapy combines in itself two branches of complimentary medicine - apitherapy and reflexotherapy. The stings are carried out to the points of standard meridians and extra meridianal points. This technique can be used for treating a wide range of diseases.

The described above technique is rarely used on its own. Usually the doctor prescribes it together with analgesic method, etc. The possible number of bees used in one session varies from one to forty. The exposition time may vary from 10 seconds to 15 minutes. During the treatment it is recommended to keep to a dairy-vegetarian diet, avoid intense physical exercises and refrain from alcohol, spiced or pickled food.

Apitherapy can be successfully combined with conventional medicine, including drug therapy, physiotherapy, massage, etc.

2. Bee venom injections.

The advantage of this method is accurate dosing and easiness of administration. Venom solution is prepared by reconstituting the dried venom into a suitable vehicle and sterilizing it. The quantity of bee venom in 1.0 ml of venom solution is expressed in the unit of Dried Venom Sac Equivalents (DVSE) which is considered to be a bee sting equivalent. The application of bee venom solution is the closest one can get to the effect of venom from live summer bees. It is administered intracutaneously (between the epidermis and the dermis) by a licensed health practitioner in the dose of a DVSE or less per injection to imitate the effect of a bee sting. Depending on the concentration of the venom solution, the standard administration doses are 0.05 ml or 0.1 ml of venom solution per injection. This contains one DVSE of venom. Regular administration areas include local (in situ) pain points, nerve meridians, trigger points and acupuncture points

Therapeutic honeybee venom comes in three basic preparations:

Apis Mellifica (Apis): whole body extract

Apis Virus: venom sac extract

Apis Venenum Purum: whole bee venom (dried venom)

3. Bee venom electrophoresis and ultrasonophoresis.

Effective and painless way by using galvano electricity and ultrasound. These methods are known as a safe and effective means of absorption of medicinal substances. Electrophoresis also known as ionophoresis, moves particles between electrodes through a liquid or gel by the application of an electrical current. Ultrasonophoresis moves particles through a gel using vibration of an ultrasonic wave or sound with frequency ranges inaudible to humans. Electrophoresis is prescribed usually for osteochondrosis, radiculitis and arthritis. Time of exposure is 5-15 minutes every day or every other day in the course of total 15-20 treatments. In.ultrasonophoresis(phonophoresis) exposure time is 5-10 minutes, 10-15 treatments.

4. Apimassage.

Bee venom can be also applied topically by means of massaging in creams and ointments, containing this substance. This method has an advantage of bee venom and massage combination that increases the positive effect on the body. The following methods are used: effleurage, attrition, petrissage and vibration. The massage stimulates blood flow to the affected organ and relaxes muscles.

5. Acupuncture with bee venom.
An article "Apitherapy by Acupuncture for Back Problems" by P.A. Potchinkova, Bulgaria, Apiacta, 1987, states, that 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 therapeutic effects. After 5-6 sessions, favorable therapeutic results were observed. Sixty-six out of 100 patients who completed the treatment evidenced considerable results or even total 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.

The application of a carefully removed stinger with fine tweezers into a specific acupuncture or acupressure point is popular in Japan, Korea and China. It is called “stinger therapy,” “shaft therapy” or “lancet therapy.”

The venom of one sting is applied into 3-6 acupuncture points, which provides a safe way of practicing bee venom therapy.

In homeoacupuncture, two application methods are commonly used: the acupuncture needle is dipped into the remedy and inserted into the acupuncture point or a drop of remedy is applied to the skin at the acupuncture point and the needle is inserted through the remedy

Bee venom in Pediatrics.

Most children older than 5 years can tolerate well the bee venom treatment. Bee stings are applied to the same bioactive points as in adults, but the number of bees and exposure time is much less. In the “Tentorium” Apitherapy Center a new patient-friendly method was developed. The bee is taken by thick- material napkin, and the bee’s reflex is to stings it leaving the stinger with venom reservoir in the napkin. The first fractions of bee venom are allowed to absorb during 5 seconds- 1 minute, depending on the patient. Then the sting is applied by forceps to the bioactive point of a child. Number of bees and time of exposure are strictly individual.

The main indications for using apitherapy on children are:

-bronchial asthma


-neurosensory hearing disorder


-rheumatoid arthritis

Treating children is very effective and positive changes are obtained very quickly. Propolis oil should be applied to stinging sites.

Possible complications and First Aid.

Unfortunately, not all patients can benefit from apitherapy. 1% of all people are hypersensitive to bee venom (idiosyncratic), i.e. inclined to allergic reactions such as the pruritus generalisatus or rash, urticaria and body temperature rise. Sometimes the complications can be even more serious, such as anaphylactic shock which is characterized by blood pressure drop and cardiac and respiratory disorders. Lack of the first aid may lead to the fatal outcome.

That is why any treatment must be conducted under the supervision of a trained physician who has established the patient’s possible contraindications to apitherapy. The first aid kit is strictly required in all consultation wards for the cases of allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock.

An allergy test should be performed before administering any of the api-products, but in particular before administering bee venom. The test should be conducted by a qualified health practitioner in a medical clinic equipped with proper materials and designated life saving emergency procedures.

The warning symptoms are: irregular edge of the papule in the stinging point, the papule’s diameter bigger than 2 cm, obvious edema, itching and rash outside the stinging area, scratchy feeling in the throat, sudden coughing, lacrimation, hyperemia conjunctivitis, eye sclera, headache, vertigo and temperature rise. If any of these symptoms occur, the apitherapy treatment should be stopped and substituted by a 10-day antihistamine course. The apitreatment can be renewed after a 10-day break, however it should be carried out with great caution and if any of the allergic symptoms reappear, the treatment should be immediately stopped.

In case of allergic reaction, the first aid includes extraction of the stinger, treatment of the stinging point with 70% ethyl alcohol, application of a chilled dressing on the skin and intake of antihistamines. The universal bee venom antidote is ethyl alcohol, therefore 30-50 ml of vodka can relieve intoxication symptoms. Ambulance should be called in case of respiratory disorders, blood pressure drop and cardiac abnormalities.

Final word.

Among Masonic symbols is the beehive, called the symbol of industry, for it clearly demonstrates how man

should cooperate with his fellow men for the mutual development of all. It also contains a much deeper message, for each living soul is a bee that travels through life and gathers the pollen of wisdom from the environments and experiences of life. As the bee gathers the honey from the heart of the flower, so each of us should extract the spiritual nectar from each happening , each joy, and each sorrow, and incorporate it into the great beehive of experience- the soul-body of man. In the same way it is said that the spiritual energies in man eternally take the life forces he is transmuting and carry them up into the beehive in the brain, where is kept the honey or oil necessary for the sustenance of life.

The ancient gods are said to have lived on nectar and not to have eaten or drunk like other men. It is quite true that honey gained or extracted from coping with the problems of everyday life is the food of the higher man.

An ancient philosopher once said that the bee extracts honey from the flower, while from the same source the spider extracts poison. The problem which then confronts us is: are we bees or spiders? Do we transform the experience of life into honey, or do we change them into poison? Do they lift us, or do we eternally rebel against the pricks? Many men become soured by experience, but the wise one takes the honey and builds it into the beehive of his own spiritual nature.

Recommended reading:

* Bodog F. Beck, M.D. and Dorée Smedley (1938, 1944) - Honey and Your Health. A nutrimental, medicinal and historical commentary.

Robert McBride and Company, New York, USA. 246 pages.

* Bodog F. Beck, M.D. (1997) The Bible of Bee Venom Therapy. Bee venom, its nature, and its effect on arthritic and rheumatoid conditions.

Health Resources Press, Maryland, USA. 238 pages. ISBN: 1-890708-003

* Joseph Broadman, M.D. Bee Venom Therapy ( 1997). The natural curative for arthritis and rheumatism.

Health Resources Press , Maryland, USA. 220 pages. ISBN: 1-890708-01-1

* Dewey M. Caron (1999, 2005). Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping.

Wicwas Press, Connecticut, USA. 355 pages. ISBN: 1-878075-09-8.

* Dadant and Sons (1946, 1949, 1963, 1975, 1992,). The Hive and the Honey Bee. Edited by Joe M. Graham.

Dadant & Sons, Hamilton, Illinois. USA. 1324 pages. Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 92-81904. ISBN: 0-915698-09-9

* Hattie Ellis (2004). Sweetness and Light. The mysterious history of the honeybee.

Three Rivers Press, New York, USA. 244 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4000-5406-0.

* Karl Von Frisch (1993). The Dance Language and Orientation of Bees.

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. 566 pages. ISBN: 0-674-19051-3

* Karl Von Frisch (1953). The Dancing Bees. An account of the life and senses of the honey bee.

A Harvest/ HBJ Book, New York and London. 179 pages.

* Karl Von Frisch (1950, 1953, 1964). Bees . Their vision, chemical senses, and language.

Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA. 118 pages.

* Günther Hauk (2002). Toward Saving the Honeybee.

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. USA. 78 pages. ISBN: 0-938250-1490000

* I. Khalifman. Bees. (2001) A book on the biology of the bee-colony and the achievements of bee-science.

University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. 366 pages. ISBN: 0-89875-191-8

* Nailya Khismatullina ( 2005). Apitherapy. Guidelines for more effective use.

Perm, Russia. 208 pages. ISBN: 5-88187-269-X

* Rainer Krell (1996). Value-added Products from Beekeeping.

FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin #124. Rome, Italy. 422 pages. ISBN: 92-5-103819-8

* L. L. Langstroth ( 2004). Langstroth's Hive and the Honey-bee. The classic beekeeper’s manual.

Dover Publications, Mineola, New Yprk, USA. 409 pages. ISBN: 0-486-43384-6.

* Fred Malone (1994). Bees Don't Get Arthritis.

Academy Books, Vermont, USA. 180 pages. ISBN: 0-914960-60-1


* Charles Mraz (1995, 2001). Health and the Honeybee.

Queen City Publication, Burlington, Vermont, USA. 92 pages. ISBN: 0-8642485-9-6

* Julia Owen. Treat Yourself for your Rheumatic or Arthritic Disease and avoid the doctor.

H.H. Greaves LTD, London, England. 46 pages.

* Julia Owen (1965). Doctors Without Shame.

H.H. Greaves LTD, London, England. 256 pages.

* Julia Owen (2000). Does Suffering Appeal You? Unpublished work of an apitherapist. Compiled and edited by Mihaly Simics and Peter Dalby.

Apitherapy Educational Service, Richmond, Canada. 12 pages.

* Mihály Simics (1995). First Aid for Bee and Wasp Stings.

Apitronic Publishing, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 30 pages. ISBN: 0-9697654-1-X

* Rudolf Steiner (1964). Nine Lectures on Bees.

St. George Publications, Spring Valley, NY. 10977. 96 pages. Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 64-8530

* Edward A. Weiss (1978). The Queen and I. Step-by-step instructions for the beginning beekeeper.

Harper & Row, Publishes, New York, USA. 204 pages. ISBN: 0-06-014578-1.

* Elaine C. White (1993). Super Formulas. How to make more than 360 useful products that contain honey and beewax.

Valley Hills Press, Mississippi, USA.114 pages. ISBN: 0-9637539-7-5.

* Naum Yoirish (1977, 2001). Curative Properties of Honey and Bee Venom

University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.198 pages. ISBN: 0-89875-409-7

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