Bee venom: a bee’s sting is evolved from the equivalent structures used by some solitary wasps for laying eggs (so only female bees: queens and workers have a stinger). A bees’ stinger has a
sharp stiff “stylet” that pierces the skin, and two barbed “lancets” with muscles attached near their base, which cause the barbed, nearly hair-thin structures to move alternately and pull the
stinger into the skin. The stylet and two lancets together form a tube which carries venom from a sac to the tip of the stinger. The whole stinger structure is mostly concealed in a pouch at the
tip of a bee’s abdomen, but is only lightly attached to the bee’s body, when the sting tip is anchored in the skin of an animal being stung, if the bee flies away the sting will be easily
torn from the bee. The bee won’t act like it’s injured, but will die within an hour.
Bee venom has many components to it and normally causes a very noticeable and immediate sharp pain with increased blood flow, followed by a hot feeling and itching in some people, a small white
area and an increased sensitivity to touch at the immediate site, and swelling that may disappear in minutes or last for up to a few days; out of the many ingredients in bee venom are--mellitin,
adolapin, and apamin--that possess anti-inflammatory properties and could help to reduce inflammation in different areas of the body.
A 2004 study published by The American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that rats injected with bee venom had a significantly lower occurrence of arthritis than those in the control group. The
researchers concluded that treatment with bee venom might inhibit the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in humans.
A study published by Oxford University Press in 2005 investigated the effect of bee venom acupuncture in the treatment of arthritis. The researchers stated that bee venom acupuncture "may become
a promising treatment for both RA and OA (osteoarthritis)." The study found that the use of bee venom on acupuncture points had a positive effect on painful, swollen joints.
back to top ^