Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is Apitherapy Right for You?

Can Getting Stung by Bees Actually Heal?
By Michael Segers, Associated Content, 5/19/2008

The word apitherapy is derived from the Latin apis, "bee," and refers to the use of injectible bee venom solution or live bee stings, as well as the use of other bee products, such as honey, beeswax, and royal jelly. Apitherapists claim that bee venom will reduce inflammation and might strengthen the immune system. Although the American Apitherapy Society claims success in treating a variety of illnesses, it seems to be used most often for arthritis.

The first writers in traditional Chinese medicine wrote about apitherapy, as did Hippocrates, founder of Western medicine. The first writing on what might be called modern apitherapy dates from the late 1880's. Afterwards, in the United States, apitherapy was absorbed into rural folk medicine, practiced by untrained beekeepers. Now, people either use live bees on themselves or with the help of a beekeeper, or they can turn to physicians who typically use injectable venom. Although the cost of the bees is not typically covered by insurance, injectable venom administered by a physician may be.

Like other alternative treatments, apitherapy is seen as a treatment of last-resort for people who are not helped by conventional treatments. There is reason to believe that the many chemicals in bee venom might be therapeutic, for conditions ranging from hypertension to depression...

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