Bee sting can help treat arthritis

June 28th, 2010 - 1:51 am ICT by IANS  

London, June 28 (IANS) Venom from bee stings can help treat and even prevent arthritis, a study has revealed.
The research team from University of Sao Paulo in Brazil has found that bee venom can control the harmful inflammation in joints that leads to rheumatoid arthritis. The venom contains molecules that cause an increase in natural hormones in the body that regulate inflammation.

The experts believe the bee venom can be used to develop new treatments that can help bring relief from the pain of arthritis and even prevent it from developing in the first place.

Lead researcher Suzana Beatriz Veríssimo de Mello, who teaches rheumatology at the University of SÃ&poundo Paulo, said bee venom causes increased levels of anti-inflammatory hormones called glucocorticoids.

“Bee venom is a complex mixture of substances that are known to induce immune and allergic responses in humans,” quoted de Mello as saying.

“Nevertheless, bee venom has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis for centuries. However, the placebo effect has been described in studies investigating bee venom anti-inflammatory properties in arthritic patients.

“Our data shows that bee venom prevents the development of induced arthritis in rabbits through the action of glucocorticoids,” de Mello added.

Bee sting therapy, in which patients endure hundreds of stings by bees in the hope of getting better, is often used as a form of alternative medicine to treat a range of conditions such as asthma and multiple sclerosis.

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