Treatment of disease with the aid of living organisms or their products
Bee Venom Therapy (Apitherapy)
Members in American Apitherapy Society and BTER Foundation
Apitherapy, or “bee therapy” (from the Latin apis which means bee) is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees.
Products of the Honeybee include bee venom, honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and beeswax.
Some of the conditions treated (not in any special order) are: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis, and infections.
Therapies involving the honeybee have existed for thousands of years and some may be as old as human medicine itself. The ancient rock art of early hunter-gatherers depicts the honeybee as a source of natural medicine. Bee venom therapy was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China—three Great Civilizations known for their highly developed medical systems. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the “Father of Medicine”, recognized the healing virtues of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response.
It is important to note that Apitherapy is not only the use of the venom for healing, often called Bee Sting Therapy, but the use of all the hive products, and usually a combination of them. These products are also sometimes mixed with other ingredients, specifically different essential oils, dependent on the condition being treated.
The more modern study of apitherapy, specifically bee venom, was initiated through the efforts of Austrian physician Philip Terc in his published results “Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in 1888. Bodog Beck (Budapest, Hugary 1871 – NYC, 1942) followed Terc, and brought Apitherapy to the United States. More recent popularity has been credited to Charles Mraz (1905 – 1999), a beekeeper from Vermont, who knew Beck. Some of the Board Members of the American Apitherapy Society, as well as some general AAS members, have been trained by and/or treated and inspired by Mraz. The Society’s annual educational and training event, CMACC, is named for him, the Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course and Conference.
For more information, visit the American Apitherapy Society site: www.apitherapy.org
Bacteriophage or “phage” are viruses that invade bacterial cells and, in the case of lytic phages, disrupt bacterial metabolism and cause the bacterium to lyse. This form of biotherapy is sometimes called Phage Therapy.
The practice of phage therapy is nearly 100 years old and was discovered independently by both French and English scientists. They realized that phage had the potential to kill the bacteria that caused many infectious diseases in humans, animals, and plants.
One of the best known applications of living animals to assist the ill or physically-challenged is the use of guide dogs (“seeing eye dogs”). Guide dogs are often overlooked as a biotherapeutic modality, probably because they are so well-accepted in our society, and within modern medicine.
For more information about the many biotherapies available, visit the BTER Foundation site: www.bterfoundation.org