Friday, July 25, 2008

Stings Lead to Arthritis Relief

By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, The Hartford Courant (USA), 7/25/2008

Q.I was stung on my left leg five times by yellow jackets. I have osteoarthritis in my left knee, and the pain has been gone since I was stung. I'm hoping that it will last! If I had a choice, though, I would definitely pick honeybee stings over yellow jackets, as they're much less painful.

A. You're not the first person to share such a story with us. Years ago, a reader wrote: "While snoozing on the porch I was stung on the finger by a tiny bee. The result: intense pain, and after that a great reduction of arthritis in my arm."

Early in the 20th century, bee-venom therapy was used to treat arthritis. Hospital pharmacies even stocked bee venom for these injections. After World War II, though, this approach was no longer widely used.

Apitherapy, which uses bee stings medicinally, is undergoing a resurgence. Some proponents claim that honeybee stings can alleviate the pain of arthritis, shingles or tendinitis. Yellow jackets can be dangerous, however, and should not be used.

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