Apitherapy is the art of using bee products – everything from honey to venom – to have more energy and to control your biology. Modern science is now discovering the power of bee products, but we’re hardly the first people to use bees as a source of natural medicine. In fact, apitherapy may be one of the oldest biohacks around; its origins trace back to ancient Greece, Egypt, and China.
Studies show that bee products may help manage autoimmune diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, HPV, Lyme Disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis – bacteria in bee stomachs could even act as alternatives to antibiotics.
You’ve probably heard about eating small amounts of raw honey to improve your sleep, but have you heard about using bee venom to hack your immune system? Propolis for inflammation? Pollen for allergies (how’s that for a contradiction?)? What about nutrient-dense royal jelly, associated with enhanced brain function, increased metabolism, improved mood, and about a dozen other upgrades for your body?
Read on to learn more about these powerful – and unusual – biohacks. Some have more evidence behind them than others – I’ll talk about that too.
Can bee venom therapy make for a Bulletproof immune system?
Bee venom therapy is exactly what it sounds like – getting stung by bees in a controlled setting. That’s the traditional approach. The FDA has also approved a venom extract called Apex Venenum Purum, and it’s widely available.
This is one reason why, when my 5-year-old son got stung for the first time by a bee, I praised his new “bee powers” which magically made the pain go away.
Why would you want to swallow (or inject) extracted bee venom? Well, it turns out there may be more than a few benefits to this odd biohack.
Here’s the theory behind bee venom therapy: bee venom only causes slight inflammation, but in many people (even those who aren’t allergic to bee stings), the immune system mounts an unnecessarily large response to it. Your brain triggers excessive release of several hormones that control immune response, and once they take care of the bee venom, the leftover hormones can deal with other immune problems.
To be clear – this mechanism still a theory. We don’t yet fully understand the process behind bee venom therapy. However, there’s growing research supporting bee venom therapy’s effectiveness in all kinds of immune system-related issues.
One study found that venom regulated thyroid function in women with hyperthyroidism.
Bee venom enhanced the effectiveness of arthritis medication in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. It also decreased arthritis-related edema – that’s when joints fill with fluid and become swollen.