Learn About Bee Venom

Honey bees produce bee venom, or apitoxin, which is released through their stinger as a form of defense for the hive. While being stung by a bee causes inflammation, redness and pain for most people, bee venom has also been used as a medicinal ingredient to treat a number of ailments.

How is it made?

Bee venom is a colourless liquid that is secreted through a gland in the honey bee’s abdomen. 

To extract bee venom, beekeepers use a special frame with a glass plate. This frame contains an electric device that passes an electric current to produce a very low voltage shock. These bee venom frames are mounted on the top of honey frames in the hive and a current is applied. 

Bees that come in contact with the wired frame receive a mild electrical shock and sting the glass sheet. The bee venom collects on the glass plate, like droplets. It is commonly believed that a worker bee can only sting once; this is only true if their barbed stinger becomes dislodged in the victim’s skin. The smooth surface of the glass collection plate allows the bees to retain their stingers and they are relatively unharmed during the bee venom extraction process.

After a sufficient amount of bee venom has been collected, the current is turned off and the glass plate is removed from the hive. Beekeepers will allow the liquid content of the bee venom to evaporate. After it has dried, the bee venom is scraped off of the glass sheet. 

Bee Venom Compounds

The major components in bee venom are peptides, enzymes, and minor amounts of bioamines such as histamine. Notable peptides include melittin and apamin. Melittin is linked with anti-inflammatory activity. Apamin is linked to benefits in the central nervous system and cardiovascular smooth muscles. 

The main enzyme found in bee venom is called phospholipase A2 (PLA2). This is the major allergen in bee venom which causes immune responses and inflammation. It has also shown potential in pain management in the form of Bee Venom Therapy (BVT).

Health Benefits

Anti-Inflammation & Arthritis

Bee venom can inhibit the production of inflammatory markers and provide relief from the symptoms of some medical conditions. Bee venom can reduce joint swelling and other symptoms of arthritis. Related inflammatory conditions such as gout and capsulitis (frozen shoulder) can also be reduced with bee venom

Open Wound & Burn Treatment

The natural antibacterial properties of bee venom can promote wound healing. Bee venom has a significant effect on tissue regeneration.

Dermatological Effects

The antimicrobial effects of bee venom can also be used to treat skin conditions. Bee venom is particularly effective at treating skin inflammation caused by acne bacteria. The antibacterial effects can also kill the bacteria that causes acne. Topical application of bee venom may also reduce the size and appearance of wrinkles.

Pain Relief

Peptides in bee venom can activate receptors on nerves that cause pain relief in many applications.

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