Bee venom found to be medically useful – could this save them from extinction?

July 21, 2010

There has been much concern recently about the plight of the poor bumble bee as their numbers have declined so drastically the feared impact on the environment and our plant life is said to be truly serious.

However, there does not appear to have been any real concerted action to do something about it but now a new development which shows how bee venom could be effective in treating certain conditions — and therefore somebody could make some money out of it — might possibly just be the saving of them.

A collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of Liege in Belgium believes that a toxin extracted from honey bee venom could potentially be used in the treatment of muscular dystrophy, depression and dementia.

Apamin, a natural peptide toxin found in bee venom, is known for its ability to block a type of ion channel that enables a high-speed and selective flow of potassium ions out of nerves. What the researchers have discovered is that the blocking of these channels in the brain causes nerves to become hyperexcitable and that this produces improved learning that has implications for the treatment of dementia and depression. In addition, injection of apamin improves the symptoms experienced by sufferers of myotonic muscular dystrophy (MD).

Professor Neil Marrion, from the University of Bristol’s Physiology & Pharmacology department, said: “Drug design depends on knowing the target. Our findings have provided a new approach to designing a therapeutic agent that could help with the treatment of a number of conditions.”

If you want to get ahead of the research, then can I suggest you start your own regime by using an organic high factor honey such as Manuka 15 or 30 and treat yourself to a spoonful of so every day as it has many health benefits — unless of course you are a diabetic in which case you might just have to hold on and wait for the bees to produce enough venom!

On a different note… A family business who is doing something to help bees thrive is They sell honey and other bee products. But they are offering you the chance to have your own hives in the garden for nothing! And you get to keep some of the honey – They just keep most of it as your payment to them. If you’re interested and live in South East Essex check them out.

For More info on Honey Bees – visit Essex Bees


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