Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bee Venom Used to Treat Arthritis, MS, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Can Bee Stings Treat Disease? An Apitherapy Practitioner Says Yes
By Tom Keyser, Times Union (USA), 1/31/2009

Walter Blohm has shown his slides and explained the therapy, and now it's time. He approaches an audience member who has just volunteered how he still has discomfort from rotator-cuff surgery.

"I'll show you how we do it," Blohm says. "You ready to get stung?"

The man looks Blohm straight in the eyes.

"Bring it on," he says.

This is what the nearly 100 people attending Monday's regular meeting of the Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association in Ballston Spa have come to see. Blohm, the guest speaker, has driven up in his Frontier pickup with NYCHONEY license plates from Queens, where he has for 18 years practiced apitherapy, or bee-sting therapy…

He learned apitherapy from Charles Mraz, the country's leading advocate for bee-sting therapy. Mraz died in 1999 at home in Middlebury, Vt., frustrated at the lack of acceptance by the medical community of bee venom as a viable treatment for arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.

For this story calls were placed to numerous medical associations, public and private, including the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians and the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Media specialists said no information about bee-sting therapy was available…

He's one of maybe two dozen apitherapists in the country, he says. However, he says, it's impossible to estimate how many people practice or receive bee-sting therapy, because many do it privately.

Blohm performed it first on his wife 20 years ago after meeting Mraz at a bee conference. Blohm's wife had arthritis in one knee from a skiing accident.

"She wasn't too happy about it in the beginning," Blohm says. "But after that, she was thrilled. She had no more pain."

Blohm learned more about bee-sting therapy from the AAS before offering to treat others, he says. It works — when it works, he says — by stimulating the immune system and drawing blood to the diseased or wounded area. Some doctors inject venom extracted from bees, but that venom, Blohm says, is less potent.

Venom from honeybees contains more than 40 active substances, according to alternative-medicine publications. The most abundant is an anti-inflammatory called melittin. It causes the body to produce cortisol, an agent of the body's own healing process, the publications say. Other substances in bee venom include apamin, which enhances nerve transmission, and adolapin, an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

The treatments don't help everybody, but, Blohm says, he has helped people with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, gout and chronic fatigue syndrome…

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