Apitherapy is the medical use of honey bee products. Here at the Chung Institute, we concentrate on using bee venom to incite the body to heal from within. Bee venom therapy has been used in arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, dissolving scar tissue (e.g. keloids), Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Herpes zoster, among other illnesses. The most abundant active component of the venom is melittin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. However, bee venom is a complex mix of a variety of peptides and proteins, some of which have strong nerve healing and immunogenic effects.
Therapies involving the honey bee have existed for thousands of years and some of them may be old as human medicine itself. The ancient rock art of early hunter-gatherers depicts the honey bee as a source of natural medicine. Bee venom therapy was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China — three Great Civilizations known for their highly developed medical systems. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the “Father of Medicine”, recognized the healing virtues of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response.
The more modern study of apitherapy, specifically bee venom, was initiated through the efforts of Austrian physician Philip Terc in his published results “Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in 1888. Bodog Beck (Budapest, Hungary 1871 – NYC, 1942) followed Terc, and brought Apitherapy to the United States. More recent popularity has been credited to Charles Mraz (1905 – 1999), a beekeeper from Vermont, who knew Beck.
(taken in part from Andrew Kochan, MD 5-08)
If you would like to know more, please visit the American Apitherapy Society at: