Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Unwelcome Apitherapy

Yesterday, my-truck-driver, my marine-in-danger self emerged while working with the bees, while wearing a thin sleeved shirt. I'd disturbed the little critters and almost immediately felt that old familiar sting. A bee sting is a ferocious smack of pain.

 I looked to the spot on my tender inner arm and caught the perpetrator in the act. Most often, a person doesn't see the actual bee who revenges the entire hive, so when I saw her, it became personal. I'm not sure how loud the litany of words were that spewed from my mind and mouth, the same words my children would have been punished for using. I was angry, so I have to assume the worst.

It was the first real day of spring and my industrious, pious, neighbor Judy was out in her yard too.  We are only divided by a metal fence and I hear most of her conversations when she is outside: her cheerful phone conversations, her dog disciplines, her loving words to grandchildren, her happy greetings to guests; her conversation list from me was now dominated by bombs thrown at bees.

The bee sting left me in a pitiful, self-nursing state and somewhat lethargic. At the time, I couldn't understand why I'd watched four episodes of a never-seen-before TV drama that was mediocre at best. The evening required constant dosing of the inflamed, itching, tender skin with alcohol and the parsimonious application of a French ointment that works semi-wonders, but I use sparingly because I'll never return to the country where I purchased it.

I didn't sleep well either. This morning while still in bed, reading the NYTimes, I came across a celebrity headline story that included the celebrity's use of apitherapy. Apitherapy is a therapy using bee products, and  more specifically bee sting therapy. After my horrendous encounter, I went straight to the article chiding anyone who could be so silly to intentionally seek bee stings for health and beauty. However, it's a much sought after and expensive treatment for a variety of ailments and here I was getting it for free.

My doubt subsided when I remembered the recently found study I'd sent off to Nikki and Lisa. In a study of French beekeepers, it was found that out of 1000 beekeepers, only one had died of cancer. In comparing death rates to other French farmers, it was found that 50% died of cancer.

Part of the protection comes from the fact that a beekeeper will get stung--and herein is the value. The bee venom (considered most potent when from a live sting), improves blood circulation, increases physical strength and well being, stimulates the pituitary-cortical system, reduces pain and inflammation, has anti-oxidant effects, and activates the immune system.

A list of the ingredients found in bee venom (listed on holisticmd.org), coordinates the ingredient with its action and effect. It's--impressive, even to a woman with a swollen, aching arm, who laid on the couch all night, all in the unrecognized quest for improved health and well being.

But,....is it true? The site reports: There have been no double blind control studies done on humans testing the efficacy of bee venom therapy for several reasons. The main reason cited is that bee sting therapy is not profitable on a large scale that would trigger pharmaceutical testing.  Mother nature cannot be patented.

Today, I will be back in the bee yard manipulating the hive that is full, that needs to be split, or the bees will swarm. The comb will need to be trimmed to fit the waiting, empty hive. It's going to be hard work and thank goodness Nikki's in town and willing to help. I will double dress: two layers of pants and shirts, my bee jacket and the requisite veil and gloves. But if by chance there's a chink in my armor, or in Nikki's armor, lucky us-- together we will stay young and healthy.