What is Bee Venom?

Bee venom (apitoxin) is a complex mixture of biologically active components such as proteins, enzymes, and amines. It is light-colored, non-odorous with a bitter, acidic taste liquid. The collected venom dries quickly at room temperature, turning into a yellow-brownish powder crystalline mass.

Newly born bees do not sting. Venom synthesis begins after two or three days, while the highest production rate is reached when bees are two to three weeks old. While older worker bees produce less venom, drones (males) do not have stings. One sting contains about 100 µg of dry BV.

Bee venom is a sensitive material. If it is not protected, oxidation will take place; the color would turn into brownish-yellow. Also, the healing effect of bee venom diminishes upon oxidation. Optimal quality of bee venom can be achieved when it is harvested correctly and preserved using a suitable method. If bee venom is protected from moisture and light, it can be stored for five years or more. It will not lose its toxicity; however, its healing effects are reduced by storage.

Bee venom is a biotoxin or api-toxin synthesized and secreted by a gland that is present in the abdominal cavity of the bee. The biological activity of bee venom is associated with its rich content in peptides and proteins. It is composed of a complex mixture of several biologically active peptides, including Mellitin, apamin, and MCD; amines like histamine and dopamine; enzymes such as phospholipase A2, phospholipase B, and hyaluronidase; and non-peptide components.

Bee Venom Therapy is a form of medicine that originated from ancient Greece and China. Several scientific reports suggesting the anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory effects of bee venom have been published for a hundred years. Bee venom therapy has been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, pain, tumors, and skin diseases. Studies have linked bee venom to a variety of cancer management effects, including induction of apoptosis, necrosis, cytotoxicity, and inhibition of proliferation in some cancer types, including prostate, breast, lung, liver, and bladder.

Bee venom-derived active components are applied to a wide range of immunological and neurodegenerative diseases, including autoimmune diseases and Parkinson’s disease. Application of bee venom in apitherapy is attracted by the scientist to treat diseases rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, and shingles.

 

References:

Komi, D.E.A., Shafaghat, F. and Zwiener, R.D., 2018. Immunology of bee venom. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 54(3), pp.386-396.

Badria, F., Fathy, H., Fatehe, A., Elimam, D. and Ghazy, M., 2017. Evaluate the cytotoxic activity of honey, propolis, and bee venom from different localities in Egypt against liver, breast, and colorectal cancer. J Apither, 2(1), pp.1-4.

Rady, I., Siddiqui, I.A., Rady, M. and Mukhtar, H., 2017. Melittin, a major peptide component of bee venom, and its conjugates in cancer therapy. Cancer letters, 402, pp.16-31.

Garraud, O., Hozzein, W.N. and Badr, G., 2017. Wound healing: time to look for intelligent,‘natural’immunological approaches?. BMC immunology, 18(1), p.23.

S. Bogdanov, " Bee Venom: Production, Composition, Quality: A Review," 2016, Chp 1, in "The Bee Venom Book," Bee Product Science, www.bee-hexagon.net.

Brown, H.L., Roberts, A.E.L., Cooper, R. and Jenkins, R., 2016. A review of selected bee products as potential anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agents.

Hwang, D.S., Kim, S.K. and Bae, H., 2015. Therapeutic effects of bee venom on immunological and neurological diseases. Toxins, 7(7), pp.2413-2421.

Roy, T. and Ghosh, S., 2013. Animal models of rheumatoid arthritis: correlation and usefulness with human rheumatoid arthritis. Indo Amer J Pharm Res, 3, pp.6131-6142.

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