B ee venom therapy, used by some people with multiple sclerosis (MS), is one type of apitherapy. This term refers to the use of bees or bee products to treat medical conditions. It is estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 people with MS in the United States use bee venom therapy.
Apitherapy has been used for thousands of years. It was used in ancient Egypt. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used bee venom to treat arthritis. Bee venom therapy has been used by famous leaders, including Charlemagne, Ivan the Terrible, and Charles the Great.
In more recent times, apitherapy, especially bee venom therapy, has been recommended by some people for MS and other autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma. In the United States, Charles Mraz, also known as "The Bee Man," first advocated bee venom therapy during the 1930s. He initially treated his own arthritis effectively using bee venom therapy and subsequently recommended the treatment to people with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, including MS. He claimed that the bee sting produces inflammation at the site of the sting and that the body then mounts an anti-inflammatory response. This anti-inflammatory response is believed to act not only against the sting but also against other inflammatory processes in the body.
Another popular recent advocate of bee venom therapy is Pat Wagner, known as "The Bee Lady." She has MS and claims to have used bee venom therapy effectively to treat herself.
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