According to the website of the American Apitherapy Society, apitherapy or “bee therapy” (from the Latin apis which means bee) is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees. Products of the Honeybee include bee venom, honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and beeswax.
Some of the conditions treated (not in any special order) are: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis, and infections.
Therapies involving the honeybee have existed for thousands of years and some may be as old as human medicine itself. The ancient rock art of early hunter-gatherers depicts the honeybee as a source of natural medicine. Bee venom therapy was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China—three Great Civilizations known for their highly developed medical systems. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the “Father of Medicine”, recognized the healing virtues of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response.
It is important to note that Apitherapy is not only the use of the venom for healing, often called Bee Sting Therapy, but the use of all the hive products, and usually a combination of them. These products are also sometimes mixed with other ingredients, specifically different essential oils, dependent on the condition being treated.
The more modern study of apitherapy, specifically bee venom, was initiated through the efforts of Austrian physician Philip Terc in his published results “Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in 1888. Bodog Beck (Budapest, Hugary 1871 – NYC, 1942) followed Terc, and brought Apitherapy to the United States. More recent popularity has been credited to Charles Mraz (1905 – 1999), a beekeeper from Vermont, who knew Beck. Some of the Board Members of the American Apitherapy Society, as well as some general AAS members, have been trained by and/or treated and inspired by Mraz. Reference American Apitherapy Society.