Apitherapy is a science of maintaining health by the use of bee products like bee venom, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly and honey. A rock painting found near Valencia, Spain dating to 7000 B.C. shows a man gathering honey. Drawings on Egyptian Temples 2400 B.C. show bee keeping and honey prepara- tion. In the medical papyri of Egypt, dating back to 1553-1550 B.C, there are indications that honey was used to heal wounds. Talmud, the Bible, Orient, ancient Greece and Rome all praised honey and bee pollen as a source of youthfulness and health. Koran in a section titled “The Bee” says honey “is a medicine for men”. In the Orient a mixture of honey and pollen was used as a poultice on wounds.

The more modern apitherapy, specifically bee venom, was initiated by Austrian physician Philip Terč with his results “Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in 1888. Bodog Beck (1871 – 1942) followed him, and brought Apitherapy to the United States. In the book, “The Poison of the Honey Bee”, it is firstly considered as a therapeutic agent. Most of its components are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and act as anti-oxidants. There are many conditions where it can be used as: arthritis, post herpetic neuralgia, adhesive capsulitis, and multiple sclerosis. Propolis has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and anti-cancer properties. It is used to treat wounds, external warts, otitis media and autoimmune diseases, especially psoriasis, herpetic infections and influenza.

Bee pollen is recommended for patients with autoimmune disease (especially thyroiditis), multiple sclerosis, lupus and celiac disease. It was studied in benign prostatic hypertrophy, memory loss, cancer and as protective against radiation. Royall jelly can be used for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections, for wound healing and tissue repair. It is the primer of the immune system, it regulates hormones, cognitive function and osteoporosis.

The final apitherapy product is the “golden liquid “honey. It varies in taste and color based on the geographical region it originates from. Honey has both external and internal indications. It has antimicrobial properties, wound healing effects, ulcers, colitis and as a natural cough syrup.

Bratko Filipič,