All over the world people are benefiting from the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of bee venom. The 18 natural substances found in bee venom cannot be chemically reproduced and the most abundant active ingredients – mellitin, adolapin, and apamin – all have naturally occurring anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Researchers also believe the combination of bee venom ingredients help the body release natural healing compounds.
Bee venom has been used throughout history for its therapeutic benefits. Bee venom therapy was practised in ancient Egypt and Greece with Hippocrates said to have used it to treat arthritis.
There have only been a few scientific studies on the medicinal benefits of bee venom therapy, which is known as apitherapy, but so far the studies show promising results in treating pain and arthritic conditions and may also help treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, high blood pressure, asthma, hearing loss, dissolving scar tissue and even cancer. While more evidence is still needed about the effectiveness of bee venom therapy, with a number of scientific studies underway, personal testimonials from around the world show that many people are feeling the benefits.
It’s not just for pain relief, though. Bee venom, which can be found in everything from face masks, lip serums, and skin creams, is also venerated for its skincare attributes. It’s been labelled “nature’s botox” because of its miraculous ability to help tighten the skin and smooth the appearance of fine lines.
Celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Victoria Beckham and even the Duchess of Cambridge are reported to be avid users. In 2012, Kate’s beautician told the Daily Mail that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, had introduced Kate to an organic face mask containing bee venom. Kate’s flawless, glowing complexion on her wedding day was attributed to the bee venom cream.
Jude Salisbury, managing director of abeeco, explains how it works, saying, “The venom fools the body into thinking it has been lightly stung, so it responds by sending blood to the affected area, which in turn triggers the production of collagen and elastin.”
The Auckland-based company has been working with local beekeepers for years to make natural, high-quality bee-based products. These include bee venom and glucosamine capsules for arthritic pain and bee venom balms for joint pain and muscular aches.
It was when customers using the balm said they noticed that the cream improved the appearance of their skin that led abeeco to start looking into bee venom’s skincare properties.
“We decided to investigate this further and developed a bee venom skincare range,” says Salisbury. “With the reports of Kate using a bee venom mask made from New Zealand bee venom, suddenly everyone became interested and wanted to give it a try. The popularity of the mask led to us making a range of products; there’s a big demand.”
But you can rest assured that no bees are harmed in the making of bee venom products. Salisbury explains that venom is collected with a specially adapted glass pane alongside a hive. A weak electrical current runs through the glass pane, which encourages bees to “sting” it. While a sting is normally fatal for bees, it’s not in this process, as they don’t leave their stingers behind. The bees’ venom is then collected from the surface.
Because of the eco-friendly, cruelty-free process of venom collection, bee venom products aren’t cheap. However, New Zealand bee venom is world renowned for its high quality and purity. And don’t be put off by the “venom” – applying bee venom products doesn’t hurt.
“Some people notice a tingling sensation; people have different levels of sensitivity so some people may feel it more than others,” says Salisbury.
However, one thing is for sure, if you’re looking for a natural alternative that can both lessen your pain or make your skin look better, you need to try bee venom products.