Bee venom for Parkinson’s and what ails you!

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Since co-founding the American Apitherapy Society in 1986 with my friend and mentor master apitherapist Charlie Mraz, we have striven to bring apitherapy (therapies from the bee hive: venom, pollen, raw honey, propolis, wax and therapeutic sound) from the realm of folk medicine to the medical clinics of the world. Scientific validation has never been the problem.  The challenge is there is no way to patent a natural product so apitherapy is inherently LESS profitable than knock off drugs.  Charlie used to sell to Pharmacia Corporation who made desensitization venom injections but they allegedly told him that venom had no future as an anti-inflammatory agent because it would not be profitable not being patentable.  Nonetheless, watching the scientists of the world validate bee venom, in this instance as regards its efficacy in the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease,  cervical cancer and many other illnesses is gratifying so, with a twinge of  “I told you so!” read the following:

“…The results showed significant improvement of movement outcomes in the bee venom acupuncture group which was superior to the results with acupuncture treatment alone…”

“…These results suggest that MEL may inhibit human cervical cancer progression and angiogenesis by inhibiting HIF-1 and VEGF expression…”

June 8, 2014

Elizabeth Clausen, +1 414-276-2145,

Acupuncture and Bee Venom Acupuncture Are Beneficial Alternative Therapies for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

STOCKHOLM – Both acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture are promising alternative therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, according to a study released today at the 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

Seung-Yeon Cho and colleagues at Kyung Hee University Hospital in Seoul, investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture (BVA) as a complementary and alternative therapy in patients with PD. Forty-three adult PD patients were evaluated, who had been on a stable dose of antiparkinsonism medication for at least one month. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: acupuncture, BVA, or control. The groups underwent stimulation of ten acupuncture points using acupuncture or BVA twice a week for eight weeks, with the control group receiving no treatment during this period.

Participants in the BVA group showed significant improvement in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores, the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and time taken to walk 30 meters. Compared to the control group, the BVA group demonstrated significantly greater improvement in UPDRS scores. In the acupuncture group, the UPDRS and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores showed significant improvement. And the control group showed no significant changes in any outcome measure after the first eight weeks.

Louis Tan, Senior Consultant Neurologist at the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore states, “The results showed significant improvement of movement outcomes in the bee venom acupuncture group which was superior to the results with acupuncture treatment alone. These results are important as it has been found that up to 70% of patients in some countries use complementary therapies for the management of PD.” Tan adds that “In addition to traditional acupuncture, the Korean group has ventured into a new field of bee venom acupuncture treatment. Such carefully planned clinical studies are important to the Parkinson’s community, as they provide much needed evidence to guide the recommendation of such therapies to our PD patients.”


Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2014 May 28. pii: 1535370214533880. [Epub ahead of print]

Protective effects of melittin on tumor necrosis factor-induced hepatic damage through suppression of apoptotic pathway and nuclear factor-kappa B activation.


Melittin, a major polypeptide in honeybee venom, have been used to treat inflammatory disease. Various studies have demonstrated the anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects of bee venomand melittin. However, the precise mechanism of melittin in liver disease is not yet known. Apoptosis contributes to liver inflammation and fibrosis. Knowledge of the apoptotic mechanisms is important to develop new and effective therapies for treatment of cirrhosis. In the present study, we investigated the anti-apoptotic effect of melittin on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α/actinomycin (Act) D-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes. Our results show significant protection from DNA damage by melittin treatment compared with corresponding TNF-α/Act D-treated hepatocytes without melittin. Melittin inhibited TNF-α/Act D-induced activation of the caspase, bcl-2 family of proteins and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP)-1. Our results also indicate that melittin decreased nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) by degradation of phosphorylation of IκB kinase (p-IKK) and NF-κB DNA binding activity in TNF-α/Act D-treated hepatocytes. These results suggest that melittin possesses a potent suppressive effect on apoptotic responses in TNF-α/Act D-treated hepatocytes via the NF-κB pathway.

© 2014 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 May 27. pii: S0006-291X(14)00970-X. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.05.089. [Epub ahead of print]

Apamin inhibits hepatic fibrosis through suppression of transforming growth factor β1-induced hepatocyte epithelial-mesenchymal transition.


Apamin is an integral part of bee venom, as a peptide component. It has long been known as a highly selective block Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels. However, the cellular mechanism and anti-fibrotic effect of apamin in TGF-β1-induced hepatocytes have not been explored. In the present study, we investigated the anti-fibrosis or anti-EMT mechanism by examining the effect of apamin on TGF-β1-induced hepatocytes. AML12 cells were seeded at ∼60% confluence in complete growth medium. Twenty-four hours later, the cells were changed to serum free medium containing the indicated concentrations of apamin. After 30min, the cells were treated with 2ng/ml of TGF-β1 and co-cultured for 48h. Also, we investigated the effects of apamin on the CCl4-induced liver fibrosis animal model. Treatment of AML12 cells with 2ng/ml of TGF-β1 resulted in loss of E-cadherin protein at the cell-cell junctions and concomitant increased expression of vimentin. In addition, phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2, Akt, Smad2/3 and Smad4 were increased by TGF-β1 stimulation. However, cells treated concurrently with TGF-β1 and apamin retained high levels of localized expression of E-cadherin and showed no increase in vimentin. Specifically, treatment with 2μg/ml of apamin almost completely blocked the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, Akt, Smad2/3 and Smad4 in AML12 cells. In addition, apamin exhibited prevention of pathological changes in the CCl4-injected animal models. These results demonstrate the potential of apamin for the prevention of EMT progression induced by TGF-β1 in vitro and CCl4-injected in vivo.

Int J Dermatol. 2013 Dec;52(12):1519-24. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12161. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis: dermatitis due to live bee acupuncture therapy in Korea.


Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis is an iatrogenic disease induced by so-called live bee acupuncture therapy, which applies the honeybee (Apis cerana) stinger directly into the lesion to treat various diseases in Korea. We present two cases of live bee acupuncture dermatitis and review previously published articles about this disease. We classify this entity into three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. The acute stage is an inflammatory reaction, such as anaphylaxis or urticaria. In the chronic stage, a foreign body granuloma may develop from the remaining stingers, similar to that of a bee sting reaction. However, in the subacute stage, unlike bee stings, we see the characteristic histological “flame” figures resulting from eosinophilic stimulation induced by excessive bee venom exposure. We consider this stage to be different from the adverse skin reaction of accidental bee sting.

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 23;8(7):e69380. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069380. Print 2013.

Melittin suppresses HIF-1/VEGF expression through inhibition of ERK and mTOR/p70S6K pathway in human cervical carcinoma cells.



Melittin (MEL), a major component of bee venom, has been associated with various diseases including arthritis, rheumatism and various cancers. In this study, the anti-angiogenic effects of MEL in CaSki cells that were responsive to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) were examined.


MEL decreased the EGF-induced hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) protein and significantly regulated angiogenesis and tumor progression. We found that inhibition of the HIF-1α protein level is due to the shortened half-life by MEL. Mechanistically, MEL specifically inhibited the EGF-induced HIF-1α expression by suppressing the phosphorylation of ERK, mTOR and p70S6K. It also blocked the EGF-induced DNA binding activity of HIF-1α and the secretion of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Furthermore, the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay revealed that MEL reduced the binding of HIF-1α to the VEGF promoter HRE region. The anti-angiogenesis effects of MEL were confirmed through a matrigel plus assay.


MEL specifically suppressed EGF-induced VEGF secretion and new blood vessel formation by inhibiting HIF-1α. These results suggest that MEL may inhibit human cervical cancer progression and angiogenesis by inhibiting HIF-1α and VEGF expression.

Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun;21(3):155-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Bee venom acupuncture point injection for central post stroke pain: a preliminary single-blind randomized controlled trial.



We investigated apipuncture, or acupuncture point injection with diluted bee venom, as a promising new treatment for central post stroke pain (CPSP).


Bee venom, diluted to 0.005% in normal saline, was administered to the treatment group, and normal saline given to control group as twice-weekly injections for three weeks. The points were LI15, GB21, LI11, GB31, ST36 and GB39 of the affected side and the amount of injection was 0.05 ml at each point.


Eight patients in each group were included in the analysis. After three weeks there were significant decreases in visual analogue pain scores compared with baseline in both groups and the treatment group improved more significantly than the control group (p = 0.009).


Apipuncture significantly improved CPSP in this pilot trial. Further studies of its mechanisms and a larger and long-term follow-up trial will be needed to determine more definitely the efficacy of apipuncture and to elucidate duration of improvement.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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