Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apitherapy in Iran

By Behnam Kaviani-Vahid, Pharm.D., Journal of the American Apitherapy Society, Volume 14, Number 3, September 2007

Excerpts: …Scientific research on apitherapy in Iran resulted from the efforts of a great mystic man Mr. Azizollah Mohaghegh Modarres Najafi, from Mashhad, the capital of Iran’s North East province. Using the bodies of recently died bees, he prepared an ointment for use in treating patients with joint disorders ranging from simple trauma to arthritis. And on his recommendation, bee venom was used on rheumatic patients at Imam Reza Hospital, at the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Professor Mehdi Balali-Mood played a major role in managing the team and persuading health officials to accept the project and provide beehives for the medical team.

However, the project was criticized by academic staffs, who declared bee venom therapy to be unscientific. They also claimed that if the technique had been effective, Pharmaceutical companies would have used it to develop medicines before the Iranian researchers did, and there would have been at least one U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved medication to present to the pharmaceutical markets. Moreover, apitherapists were viewed by most academics as unethical for treating patients with live bee stings. Despite these criticisms and problems, bee venom therapy, using live honeybees, began in 1989 in the department of rheumatology at Imam Reza Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Mohammad Reza Hataf.

After receiving good results from two arthritic patients (one with Rieter syndrome and the other with RA), we launched a pilot study to collect bee venom by means of a new invented electrical shock device and then formulation of two different medications from the venom. One ointment and freeze dried Vials in 4 different dosages from Bee venom which was supposed to be consumed for use by a small number of volunteers with autoimmune diseases. The results of treating two patients were presented at a 1990 regional congress in Ahwaz, the capital of Iran’s South West province, but were rejected by the congressional officials. In 1992 the same results were reported to an international congress on Natural Toxins in Singapore and were accepted for presentation at the opening ceremony.

Since 1992 the use of beehive products, especially bee venom, has been formally presented at congresses, university seminars, and beekeepers’ meetings. As research teams continue to study bee venom therapy, disorders ranging from simple trauma to malignant tumors, and especially MS and arthritis, are being considered for investigation.

It is now common to see pollen, propolis, and royal jelly at exhibitions and in shops selling honey and traditional plant medicines. With the safety of bee products ensured by health officials, the bee industry has grown significantly, particularly the field of packaging. As the industry develops further, new standards will gradually be introduced.

Also under way is a step-by-step effort to convince Iran’s health ministers of the effectiveness of honeybee products, particularly bee venom. In addition, three workshops have been held for medical doctors regarding Bee Venom Therapy. Although as recently as 20 years ago none of Iran’s medical doctors or professors were willing to use even honey to treat their patients, well-known orthopedic physicians are now using organic raw honey in the operating room and as a way of healing wounds and fungi-infected nails.

A recent area of research on honeybee products is the effectiveness of propolis as a virus growth inhibitor in the production of vaccines…

1 comment:

saleh said...

Dear Dr.Kavyani,

I got heartened again(liked that time I saw you in Esfahan congress) when I read this Apitherapy news,

I hope Iran’s health ministers thinking become more positive about Apitherapy uses in the future,

and I wish the Iran's health ministers system had changed in the last 20 years ago,then apreciated my father who built many different Apitherapy products on honey bee from Iran.

Please say my regard to your friend Dr. Balali,

Saleh Saleh Nezhad