Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Bee venom is a great example of an old wives’ tale being welcomed into the realm of scientifically validated treatment successes. Since I co-founded the American Apitherapy Society with Charlie Mraz many years ago, bee venom therapy (BVT) and apitherapy (medicinal use of all honey bee products: raw honey for wounds, propolis for infections, pollen for allergies etc) has become more scientifically validated.
Here are some articles recently on bee venom and osteoarthritis.
Comparative study on the effects of bee venom pharmacopuncture according to the treatment method for knee osteoarthritis.
The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of bee venom pharmacopuncture (BVP) therapy according to the methods used to treat knee osteoarthritis (OA): intra-acupoint combined with intra-articular injection, intra-acupoint injection, and intra-articular injection.
A total of 69 patients were recruited by the Department of Acupuncture & Moxibustion at Dong- Eui Oriental University Hospital from February 1 to July 23, 2012. The patients were assigned to 3 groups: the first group with intra-acupoint combined with intraarticular BVP Injection (the experimental group), the 2nd group with intra-acupoint BVP injection (control groupⅠ), and the 3rd group with intra-articular BVP injection (control groupⅡ). The participants were assigned in the order in which they were recruited. Treatments were done twice a week, for a total of 9 times. The effectiveness was assessed by using the visual analouge scale (VAS) and the Korea Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (KWOMAC).
All three groups exhibited significant VAS and KWOMAC effects. Moreover, the 4 week follow-up after the final treatment showed a persistence of BVP effects. However, when the groups were compared, no statistically significant differences in VAS and KWOMAC were noted, but when improvement was considered, the results showed that intra-articular injection was more effective than intra-acupoint injection. Especially, intra-acupoint combined with intra-articular injection was the most effective among the three treatments.
Combining intra-acupoint with intraarticular injection, depending on the patient’s symptoms, may produce better results when conservatively treating knee OA.
bee venom pharmacopuncture; intra-acupoint injection; intra-articular injection; knee osteoarthritis
Evaluation of bee venom and hyaluronic acid in the intra-articular treatment of osteoarthritis in an experimental rabbit model.
The aim of this study was to investigate bee venom and hyaluronic acid in the intra-articular treatment of osteoarthritis in an experimental rabbit model. Forty-five rabbits were used and they were randomly divided into three groups (BVI, BVII, and HA) and each group was divided to two subgroups to evaluate the radiologic, magnetic resonance imaging, histopathologic, and biochemical evaluation in post treatment second week (a) and twelfth week (b). Radiologically, a significant difference was observed in the HA group (P<0.05). The MRI evaluation of at any time in group BVI(b) was found to be different. No significant differences were seen between the groups, biochemically. Histopathologically, cellularity, and orthochromasia was evident with Safranin-O in the BVI(b) and BVII(a); adhesions were seen in the BVII(a) group and clustering of chondrocyte in the HA(b) group were found to be different. Consequently, intra-articular application of HA and BV for experimental model of osteoarthritis has no significant influence upon recovery after therapy.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
I accidentally disturbed a beehive in my yard and was stung extensively. It was a frightening experience, but it amazingly seems to have cured my arthritis. Is there any medical basis for this?
- [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Bee venom acupuncture (BVA), as a kind of herbal acupuncture, exerts not only pharmacological actions from the bioactive compounds isolated from bee venom but also a mechanical function from acupuncture stimulation. BVA is growing in popularity, especially in Korea, and is used primarily for pain relief in many kinds of diseases. We aimed to summarize and evaluate the available evidence of BVA for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Computerized literature searches for experimental studies and clinical trials of BVA for arthritis were performed on the databases from PUBMED, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. In addition, two leading Korean journals (The Journal of Korean Society for Acupuncture and Moxibustion and The Journal of Korean Oriental Medicine) were searched for relevant studies. The search revealed 67 studies, 15 of which met our criteria. The anti-inflammation and analgesic actions of BVA were proved in various kinds of animal arthritic models. Two randomized controlled trials and three uncontrolled clinical trials showed that BVA was effective in the treatment of arthritis. It is highly likely that the effectiveness of BVA for arthritis is a promising area of future research. However, there is limited evidence demonstrating the efficacy of BVA in arthritis. Rigorous trials with large sample size and adequate design are needed to define the role of BVA for these indications. In addition, studies on the optimal dosage and concentration of BVA are recommended for future trials.
- [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
The analgesic efficacy of bee venom acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis: a comparative study with needle acupuncture.
The aim of this investigation was to determine whether bee venom (BV) administered directly into an acupoint was a clinically effective and safe method for relieving the pain of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) as compared to traditional needle acupuncture. We evaluated the efficacy of BV acupuncture using both pain relief scores and computerized infrared thermography (IRT) following 4 weeks of BV acupuncture treatment. We observed that a significantly higher proportion of subjects receiving BV acupuncture reported substantial pain relief as compared with those receiving traditional needle acupuncture therapy. Furthermore, the IRT score was significantly improved and paralleled the level of pain relief.
Regulation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and tumor necrosis factor converting enzyme in human osteoarthritis.
A snake venom-like protease isolated by a differential display screen between normal and osteoarthritis (OA)-affected cartilage (designated as cSVP) has a cDNA sequence identical to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha convertase enzyme (TACE) and belongs to the adamalysin group of proteases. It has unique structural properties and when expressed in baculovirus, cleaves preferentially proTNFalpha to TNFalpha. The OA-affected cartilage has upregulated mRNA for TNFalpha and TACE as compared to normal cartilage. TNFalpha and TACE regulate inflammatory mediators in OA-affected cartilage which can be inhibited by both soluble TNFalpha receptors and inhibitors of TACE. These experiments demonstrate a functional paracrine/autocrine role of TNFalpha in OA-affected cartilage that is modulated by upregulated levels of chondrocyte-derived TACE.
Copyright 1999 OsteoArthritis Research Society International.