Many swear by the method of using the venom of bee stings to mitigate the pain concomitant with conditions of Multiple Sclerosis.
Typically the brain and spinal cord are separated from the immune system. They communicate using neurological synapses. However, in the case of M.S., this invisible barrier is gone, which results in the immune system turning against the body in a destructive manner. According to medical experts, this is the main cause of inflammation afflicting sensitive nerve fibers, which spurs severe pain throughout the body.
Some evidence indicates that bee venom therapy (BVT) may be helpful in alleviating immune-modulated conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis by introducing enzymes and polypeptides like melittin and adolapin that have been shown to reduce inflammation.
“It not only provides symptom relief, but can in many cases resolve your underlying condition. It is particularly helpful for patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuralgias, Bell’s palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, herpes zoster, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis and many other condition,” writes one holistic medicine site centered around honeybees.
While no conclusive studies have illustrated the effectiveness of using the venom of bee stings to treat arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other similar disorders, thousands of people nationwide currently rely on the grassroots treatment instead of corticosteroids and other prescriptions typically administered for such conditions.
The American Apitherapy Society estimates roughly 10,000 individuals are currently offering bee venom therapy. These include beekeepers, acupuncturists, apitherapists and some with minimal to no health background at all.
Unfortunately, as with any serious condition, it is not always best to treat symptoms alone. Experts warn that ignoring severe or damaging diseases can lead to potentially devastating results.
However, for some with non-life-threatening forms of these illnesses, bee venom therapy may provide substantial relief from pain caused by swelling.
In a 2004 study, South Korean scientists found that injecting rats with bee venom significantly reduced swelling.
“BVT dramatically reduced tissue swelling and osteophyte formation on affected paws, showing a correlation between the anti-inflammatory properties and anti-arthritis effects of bee venom,” the BioTherapeutics, Education and Research Foundation (BTER) based in California writes.
A separate study conducted at the University of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., found that BVT could be used as a potential treatment to alleviate certain symptoms related to multiple sclerosis. Currently, researchers are putting forth efforts to extend the trial and find out more with the study entitled, “A phase I study of the safety of honeybee venom extract as a possible treatment of patients with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis.”
Author’s Note: My father tells an anecdotal story of two older women who used bee venom therapy in our rural hometown during the 1960’s. The two were sisters with multiple sclerosis. They decided to visit a local apiary to try bee venom therapy. While the success of their treatment is not known, my father can vividly recall the way the women ran around in a strawberry field while being stung.