Bee venom is a colorless, acidic liquid. Bees excrete it through their stingers into a target when they feel threatened.
Bee Venom Powder
Scientific Name(s): Apis mellifera
Common Name(s): Bee venom, Honeybee venom
It contains both anti-inflammatory and inflammatory compounds, including enzymes, sugars, minerals, and amino acids.
Melittin — a compound that consists of 26 amino acids — comprises about 50% of the dry weight of the venom and has been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer effects in some studies.
That said, it’s primarily responsible for the pain associated with bee stings.
Bee venom is given as a shot for rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain (neuralgia), multiple sclerosis (MS), reducing the reaction to bee stings in people who are allergic (desensitization) to them (venom immunotherapy), swollen tendons (tendonitis), and muscle conditions such as fibromyositis and enthesitis.
How does it work?
Giving repeated and controlled injections of bee venom under the skin causes the immune system to get used to bee venom, and helps reduce the severity of an allergy to bee venom.
Bee venom also contains the peptides apamin and adolapin. Although they act as toxins, they have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Additionally, it contains phospholipase A2, an enzyme and major allergen that causes inflammation and cell damage. Nevertheless, according to some research, the enzyme may also have anti-inflammatory and immunoprotective effects.
As you can see, the substances in bee venom have been associated with both positive and negative health effects.
Importantly, while research shows that some compounds in the venom may have beneficial properties, the isolated effects of each component are unknown, as many components have not been well studied.
How is it used?
Apitherapy is an alternative medicine practice that uses bee products — including their venom — to treat and prevent illnesses, pain, and more.
Although bee venom has recently experienced a surge in popularity, bee-venom therapy has been used in traditional medicine practices for thousands of years.
The venom is used in a number of ways and available in many forms. For example, it’s added to products like extracts, supplements, moisturizers, and serums.
You can purchase bee-venom products, such as moisturizers, lotions, and lozenges, online or in specialty stores.
Meanwhile, bee-venom injections can be administered by healthcare professionals.