FAQ Blog

What is Apitherapy?

As a technique, it is the medical use of the products of the honey bee Hive often used with Essential Oils. As a philosophy, it is a form of harmony between the individual and the environment. As a medical principle, it is primarily the cultivation of health and its re-establishment when sickness interferes.

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What products are used in Apitherapy?

They are: honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, bee bread and beeswax. These products can be used individually. More frequently, several of them are used together. Essential oils, already present in honey and propolis, are often used in conjunction with the products of the hive, depending on the condition being addressed.

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What kinds of conditions are treated with Apitherapy?

Currently the most popular and well known uses of honey bee venom in the United States are for people suffering from MS and many forms of arthritis. There is some scientific data supporting the use of Apitherapy for treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia. There were several articles written in the first half of the 1900’s about using bee venom in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and there is some ongoing research now looking at it’s effect in Multiple Sclerosis. Anecdotal reports suggest that it might have some usefulness in the treatment of infectious, auto-immune, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal diseases and in neuropathic pain and other chronic pain conditions.

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How are MS and Arthritis treated?

Bee Venom, in synergy with other bee products, is the major therapeutic agent. Live bee stings or a commercially available venom extract which can be injected by doctors are used in conjunction with one or more of the other products of the bee hive mentioned above.

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Where can I find someone who can help me with Apitherapy?

The American Apitherapy Society (AAS) has a Network of people ready to give information and assistance. This information is available to society members only, as an arrangement with the Network members, and to maintain privacy. Occasionally a beekeeper in your area, or an acupuncturist may know of someone who can help with Apitherapy.

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Who practices Apitherapy?

Practitioners include physicians, nurses, acupuncturists, naturopaths as well as interested laypersons. This last group includes beekeepers who can provide people with bees and instruct them how to treat themselves.

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Is Apitherapy covered by insurance?

No, however, many AAS members practitioners do not charge for the procedure but some do charge for their time or even for the bees. A donation to AAS is appreciated to support the dissemination of information about and education about Apitherapy. The amount of the donation can vary and can be discussed with the practitioner. Joining the AAS is another way to support the organization and you get an informative newsletter quarterly as part of the membership as well as other benefits.

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Is Apitherapy a recognized therapy in the US ?

No official body in the US has sanctioned Apitherapy as a recognized treatment modality. Bee venom has been approved by the FDA for de-sensitization purposes only. Apitherapy is considered, from both the legal and medical view point, an experimental approach.

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What about Bee Sting allergy?

Contrary to popular belief allergy to honey bee sting is relatively rare: about 7 in a thousand persons is allergic. Of this proportion only a small percentage risks anaphylactic shock. Never the less bee venom treatment is always to be preceded by a test of sensitivity. A sensitive person can be de-sensitized to bee venom, thus allowing Apitherapy to proceed. AAS recommends that any one that uses or administers bee venom have readily available an Epinephrine kit to be used in case of anaphylactic response and know how to use it. Erroneously, many people consider swelling after a sting to be an allergic reaction. Swelling is a normal response of the body as are localized redness, swelling and itching.

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What can I find about Apitherapy in the literature?

AAS has numerous sources of information available: a CD on Apitherapy created by the Apitherapy Commission of Apimondia, a video cassette presentation, and a variety of books. They can be ordered from the AAS store on our web site. Also, archives of past articles from the Journal are available to members, as is a bibliography of scientific articles and presentations from previous CMACCS.

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