Bee Sting Therapy: Healing from the Hive

What to Expect

Q: How does bee venom therapy work?

A: Bee Venom therapy (BVT) uses bee venom to relieve the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. A bee is held to a person's skin and allowed to sting, releasing its "venom" into the recipient. The principal active component of bee venom is melittin, a powerful anti-inflammatory substance, said to be 100 times more potent than hydrocortisone.

Melittin also helps to activate the body's adrenal glands, which causes one's own natural healing response. Another component, adolapin, is known for its painkilling properties. These compounds seem to greatly improve vision, coordination, mobility, and sensitivity to touch, among other things, in MS patients. They also decrease pain, can add to a feeling of overall well-being, and even boost energy levels.

Q: I have MS. How do I know if BVT is right for me?

A: MS patients often opt for BVT upon diagnosis. Others turn to BVT after unsuccessfully trying more conventional treatments, such as corticosteroid drugs, Interferon beta, etc. The decision to try BVT depends on your personal inclination toward a natural approach, input from your doctor and the ability to tolerate bee stings.

Q: Where does one get stung? Does it hurt?

A: BVT has been done literally from head to toe (except the eyes and inside the ears). The particular location(s) for getting stung vary depending on the particular symptoms being treated. Bee stings can be unpleasant, temporarily leaving swollen, itchy bumps on the skin. But the "stingy," hot feeling usually lasts for less than a minute.

To reduce these side effects, many use a light fan or a hot, wet washcloth on the site of the sting. Others, however, are convinced some reaction to the sting is essential to successful therapy.