Honeybee Venom Therapy

James Odell, OMD, ND, L.Ac.

All content in this article is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article or e-journal. Honeybee venom is toxic and may cause serious life-threatening reactions. If you choose to rely on any information provided in this article, you do so solely at your own risk.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee . . . ~ Emily Dickinson ~

Practicing the use of honeybee venom for medical conditions is part of apitherapy. Apitherapy, or therapy from honeybee products, such as honey, propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen and bee wax, has been practiced in many countries for centuries. Honeybee venom therapy (BVT), the use of live bee stings (or injectable venom), has been used for more than 3000 years in the treatment of numerous types of acute and chronic afflictions. BVT has been practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and China — three Great Civilizations known for their highly developed medical systems. Hippocrates, a Greek physician known as the “Father of Medicine”, recognized the healing virtues of bee venom in the treatment of arthritis and other joint problems. Throughout the world many physicians are now successfully using honeybee venom therapy with success in the treatment of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Lyme disease, psoriasis, epilepsy, asthma, and some types of cancer. The world scientific literature contains more than 1500 articles on the medicinal value of BVT.

Egyptian Hieroglyph of Honeybee

Honeybee venom is a complex mixture of various chemical compounds such as peptides, enzymes, biologically active amines and non-peptide components, some of which have strong neurological, immunological, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Honeybee venom contains more than 18 active components, of which mellitin (40-50%) is the main active peptide that exhibits anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Other components of honeybee venom:

Apamin - increases the production of cortisol in the adrenal gland.

Adolapin - contributes 2–5% of the peptides, acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent because it blocks cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain.

Phospholipase A2 - amounts to 10–12% of peptides and is the most destructive component of apitoxin. It is an enzyme that degrades the phospholipids which compose cellular membranes. It also lowers blood pressure and inhibits blood coagulation. Phospholipase A2 activates arachidonic acid that is metabolized in the cyclooxygenase-cycle to form prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate the body’s inflammatory response.

Hyaluronidase - contributes 1–3% of peptides, dilates the capillaries that cause the spread of inflammation.

Histamine - contributes 0.5–2% and is contributes to allergic reactions.

Dopamine and noradrenaline - contribute 1–2% increase in the pulse rate.

Protease-inhibitors - contribute 2% and act as anti-inflammatory agents and stop bleeding.


Unlike many other types of insect venom, honeybee venom is water-soluble, not fat-soluble. In order to be effective it is injected just under the skin into moist tissue. It’s hemorrhagic, unlike the viper snake venom, which is a coagulant. In short, honeybee venom contains anti