Bee Venom Therapy for Arthritis

Bee Venom Therapy for Arthritis

1 of
  • Can a bee sting help arthritis?

    Can a bee sting help arthritis?

    If you have arthritis, you may be using standard treatments to ease joint pain and stiffness. For example, you may be taking over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. Your doctor may have also recommended lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or surgery.

    Some research suggests that a surprising alternative treatment may also help treat arthritis: bee venom therapy.

    Read more to find out how bee venom therapy might provide relief.

  • What is bee venom therapy?

    What is bee venom therapy?

    Bee venom has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. For example, it’s been used and researched extensively in Korea.

    Nowadays, it’s often delivered through “herbal acupuncture.”

    First, the bee venom is extracted and diluted. Then it’s administered to specific locations on your body. In addition to arthritis, bee venom acupuncture is sometimes used to treat pain syndrome, progressive muscle atrophy, and some other conditions.

  • What does the research say?

    What does the research say?

    Several researchers have studied the use of bee venom for treating arthritis.

    For example, a study reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that bee venom can help prevent one type of arthritis in rabbits.

    A recent review published in BMJ Open also found some evidence that bee venom may help treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in people.

  • Animal studies

    Animal studies

    In a study reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers found that injections of bee venom can help prevent the development of arthritis in rabbits. Bee venom seemed to prevent arthritis with the help of hormones called glucocorticoids.

    These hormones help regulate inflammation. The use of bee venom, with the help of glucocorticoids, might slow the progression of inflammatory arthritis.

    These findings build on previous studies on rats. The authors suggest that bee venom may be more useful for stopping the development of arthritis instead of treating established arthritis. 

  • Human studies

    Human studies

    In a review article published in BMJ Open, researchers found only one randomized control trial that has tested the effects of bee venom acupuncture on rheumatoid arthritis.

    In that study, people who used bee venom reported fewer swollen joints, tender joints, and less morning stiffness than those who were given a placebo.

    The authors of the review concluded that more research should be done to look into the use of bee venom to treat different types of arthritis.

  • More research is needed

    More research is needed

    Despite some promising results, more research is needed to test the potential benefits of bee venom for preventing or treating arthritis.

    More studies are also needed to determine the best way to administer bee venom, as well as determine the risk for potential side effects.

  • Talk to your doctor

    Talk to your doctor

    Now that you know more about the potential benefits of bee venom, you may be tempted to add it to your arthritis treatment plan.

    But it’s important to talk to your doctor first. Ask them about any other complementary or alternative therapies that might be appropriate for you.

    Your doctor can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of bee venom acupuncture and other treatments.

    In some people, bee venom can trigger potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, so it’s important to be aware of all of the risks and benefits.

  • Personal story

    Personal story

    “With regard to the benefits of bee venom for arthritis, I think I could be living proof of its validity. Whilst enjoying a day out at Leeds Castle in Kent I was stung on the hand by a bee, which very quickly left me with a hand like a red balloon. The swelling travelled up my arm the following day, resulting in a visit to the doctor who prescribed a heavy dose of antihistamine. However, something bordering on a minor miracle has happened. My arthritic knees, right heel and foot (extremely painful) and the general aches and pains of being an otherwise fit 69-year-old going on 20 (in the head) have not just abated, but almost disappeared. I'd heard of bee stings being beneficial to joints but put it down to another old wives’ tale, yet, unless some weird coincidence has occurred, my poor bee has sacrificed his or her life in order that I may 'live again.’ Whilst I don't recommend that readers go deliberately annoying bees to rid themselves of their joint pain ... it's certainly given me a serious buzz. I haven't felt so good for years.”

    -Robert Cox