by Mihály Simics
Copyright © 1999 by Mihály Simics. All rights reserved.

Excerpts from Simics, M.: Basic Bee Venom in Products - Internet Apitherapy Course.
Apitherapy Education Service, Richmond, BC., Canada, 1999.

This paper contains many new definitions and words you may not be familiar with. Before you begin the body of the paper, read the Glossary first and become familiar of the terms. The words and definitions are in alphabetical order. Once you feel confident start to read the paper. If you have any unanswered question, you are most welcomed to contact me directly.

The venom of the honeybee may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Information on the products listed herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be interpreted or used for self diagnosis or self medication. In any case, seek the advise of a licensed health practitioner who is qualified to make such diagnoses and recommendations for treatment.

Warning: Exposure to bee venom may cause asthma and/or a life threatening allergic reaction.

Bee venom is synthesized in the venom glands of worker and queen honeybees and stored in their venom sacs. During the stinging process it is expressed through the sting apparatus. Bees use stinging behavior in defence of the colony. When made into products, bee venom is used and processed in three different forms: Apis mellifica or Honeybee, Apis Virus or Honeybee Poison and Apis Venenum Purum or Pure Honeybee Venom. Apis mellifica and Apis Virus are the Latin names of Honeybee and Honeybee Poison, respectively. They are described in a number of official drug and homoeopathic monographs (Pharmacopoeia). In lists of ingredients of products these official names are used. In literature, these names or their synonyms are mentioned. The Apis Venenum Purum or Pure Honeybee Venom is the contemporary name of Apis Virus in the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States which is an official monograph. Throughout this publication the Latin names of the different venom forms are used for identification.


English --- Common Honeybee
French --- Abeille
German --- Honig Biene

Apis mellifica is obtained by placing a specified number or amount of live bees into a clean stoppered bottle and irritating them. A specified amount of dilutent is added and the mixture is allowed to macerate for 8-10 days: it is shaken twice daily. The solution is strained and filtered. This tincture is called the Mother Tincture. The symbol for this is Q (theta). It is diluted further to the desired potencies. The tincture contains bee venom, animal fluids, honey and pollen. The strength of the tincture varies depending of the age of bees, the season they are obtained, the nectar and pollen sources. This tincture is also known as “whole body extract.”

Product Forms
The diluted and potentiated Mother Tincture is used in the preparation of capsules, creams, drops, embrocations, granules, injections, liniments, liquids, ointments, tablets and other product forms.

Application: Naturopathy, homeopathy and homeoacupuncture.

Products Manufacturer/Country
Apis mellifica 1% Salbe Weleda, Germany
Apis-Injeel S injection Heel, Germany
Apis mellifica 6X, 12X, 30X granules Boiron, USA
Apis mellifica D3 injection Weleda, Germany


English --- Bee Sting
Latin --- Apium Virus, Apisinum

Apis Virus or poison of the honeybee is obtained from live bees by drawing out the stinger with the venom sac attached. A specified number of venom sacs are gathered into a glass tube, the sacs are squeezed into it and mixed with milk sugar. After the venom is fully incorporated into the sugar, it is triturated and converted into liquid potencies. Another preparation method allows the bees to deposit a small amount of venom onto a cube of sugar or a teaspoon of crystal sugar. This process is repeated until enough venom is gathered to start a trituration and conversion. The triturated Apis Virus contains bee venom and animal proteins, which have been squeezed from the venom sacs.

Product Forms
Once Apis Virus is converted into liquid potencies, it is used in products similar to Apis mellifica.

Application: Homeopathy, naturopathy, apitherapy, acupuncture and homeoacupuncture. Venom from live bees is used for bee sting therapy. Common administration areas include trigger points (tender spots), acupuncture points and acupressure points.

The application of a carefully removed stinger with fine tweezers into a specific acupuncture or acupressure point is popular in Japan, Korea and China. It is called “stinger therapy,” “shaft therapy” or “lancet therapy.” The venom of one sting is applied into 3-6 acupuncture points, which provides a safe way of practicing bee venom therapy.

Products Manufacturer/Country
Apis Virus 6X, 30X (liquid) BioPharma, USA
Apisinum D5 Ampullen Weleda, Germany


Venom in Contemporary Use:
Pure Honeybee Venom
Latin --- Apis Virus, Apisinum, Apium Virus
French --- Venin d’abeille
German --- Bienengift
Hungarian --- Méhméreg
Italian --- Veleno d’api
Spanish --- Veneno de Abeja
Other Names in Use:
Apitoxin, Crude Bee Venom, Crystal Bee Venom, Honeybee Poison, Native Bee Venom, Powdered Bee Venom, Pure Whole Dried Bee Venom, Raw Bee Venom, Whole Bee Venom, Whole Dried Bee Venom

Since 1989, Apis Venenum Purum or Pure Honeybee Venom has been an official monograph of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. It provides a more precise preparation of Apis Virus. It is gathered by means of electric shock stimulation (Simics, 1999). Bees come into contact with a collector frame that is covered with a wire grid, receive a mild electrical shock causing them to release their venom. The venom is allowed to air dry and is then gathered and processed. At this time at least four qualities of bee venom can be collected in this manner.

The production of potent bee venom requires good nectar, honey and pollen sources. Consequently, bees have more potent venom during the summer (Beck, 1935; Croft, 1988). Bees raised without pollen have little and less effective venom in their venom sacs.

Bee venom is a colorless liquid that dries to a powder. The color of crystallized venom ranges from white to brownish yellow. The darker color is the result of contamination of the venom and oxidation of its constituents (Piek, 1986). Pure Whole Dried and Whole Dried Bee Venom are usually used in drug preparations.

Pure Whole Dried Bee Venom: It is white in color, has a crystallized powdery appearance, is free of contaminants and is known as Grade I. venom.

Whole Dried Bee Venom: The color of this venom is brownish yellow and may be contaminated with foreign materials. It is referred to as Grade II. venom.

Venom Sacs: The stingers of bees, with their venom sacs attached are deposited by bees into a thick diaphragm. The stingers are removed, dried and the venom extracted.

Liquid Bee Venom: Bees deposit their venom into a suitable liquid. The resulting solution will contain the solids and some of the volatile fractions of the venom.

Product Forms
The collected, processed and reconstituted bee venom is widely used in the preparation of capsules, creams, drops, embrocations, granules, powders, injections, liniments, liquids, ointments and tablets.

Application: Allopathic medicine, naturopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy, homeoacupuncture and apitherapy. It is now exclusively used in bee venom allergy treatment. In an injection form it is the closest one can get to the effect of venom from live bees. Known amounts of powdered venom in products allows for established standard treatment protocols to measure the effect of venom (Simics, 1999).

Product Manufacturer/Country
Cinnabar Compound Powder Weleda, USA
Apis Venenum Purum 5X - liquid Apitronic, Canada
VeneX, BVS Apitronic, Canada

There are heated discussions about the efficacy and potency of bee venom as found in its many forms in a variety of products. Bee venom seems to be the most potent when it comes directly from the stinger of a live bee. However, this observation can only apply to the venom obtained during the active beekeeping season. Off season bees have less potent venom in their venom sacs due to poor nutrition. This is an important consideration for those doing therapy with live bees which come from a locale without a year round nectar, honey and pollen flow.

The quality of collected bee venom also has its variations in potency and the ratio of its constituents. Bee venom obtained from foraging bees at the entrance of the hive has a higher percentage of Phospholipase and Hyaluronidase causing more noticeable reactions to bee venom. On the other hand, venom from bees of various ages, particularly younger bees inside the hive, contains a wider range of components in the venom, but in lower percentages.

Closer to the effect of the venom from a live bee during the summer season, injectable venom in solution would follow next in efficacy. There is a high correlation between the quality of the venom solution and the quality of the raw material and the method of preparation. Despite difficulties in preparation a high quality solution still remains the best means of treatment in an office environment and the only way to standardize a product for controlled studies and the development of treatment protocols.

Bee venom creams, liniments, ointments and embrocations are popular ways to use bee venom. There are some high quality bee venom creams on the market from which you can expect good results. These include Apireven, Apisarthron and Forapin. These products have been on the market for a long time. The oldest one is Forapin, introduced in 1934.

Tablet, granule and liquid forms of these products are most widely used in homeopathic preparations of Apis mellifica and Apis Virus and can be found in homeopathic remedy kits. They contain bee venom in a highly diluted form only and are considered safe to use (Kottirsch and Becker, 1995).

The design of a clinical study or the development of standard treatment protocols to obtain consistent results requires the use of a known quality and quantity of a medicinal substance to measure and compare its effect. With bee venom it is not an easy task. The uniformity of bee venom in products are described in the following ways:

Apis Mellifica
The source of bees, their age, the quantity of venom in the venom sac and its potency varies from time to time. As a result, the strength of Mother Tincture as the source of further dilutions is highly variable. Once the Mother Tincture is prepared, the potencies are known and its preparation follows the standard decimal or centesimal scale.

Apis Virus
Its standardization is similar to Apis mellifica. After the trituration and conversion into liquid potencies the preparation is the same as Apis mellifica. The triturated Apis Virus contains less undesirable substances such as honey, pollen or body fluid. Different potencies are most frequently prepared on the decimal and centesimal scale.

Apis Venenum Purum
This is the form of bee venom that is the most suitable for apitherapy and product development. It is pure, its constituents can be measured, its toxicity is known, it can be obtained in large quantities and is suitable for pharmaceutical application. There is no universally accepted standard for the determination of the quantity of venom in a product. Manufacturers or the health authorities in a particular country set their own standards. Product standards are based on enzyme activity, toxicity, Dried Venom Sac Equivalent (DVSE) and number of components in the venom or their combination.

Acupuncture Points: Specific sites on the body located under the skin and distributed over the Fourteen Meridians, Extraordinary Points and Ashi Points.
Acupuncture: Chinese treatment whereby needles are inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate healing.
Apilaser Therapy: The painless photobiomodulation: Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) assisted application of topical apiceuticals to enhance local penetration of such, and normalize functions in the living being.
Apis Mellifica: Honeybee. Remedy made from the whole body of the honeybee.
Apis Venenum Purum: Homeopathic remedy. New term in homeopathy for Pure Honeybee Venom that is collected by electrical shock method and used in preparations in place of Apis Virus.
Apis Virus: Homeopathic term for bee venom that is gathered from the venom gland (sac) of honey bees by removing their stingers.
Centesimal Scale: Subsequent dilution of a remedy on a 1 to100 scale. Marked with letter C or CH.
Decimal Scale: Subsequent dilution of a remedy on a 1 to 10 scale. Marked with letter X or D.
Dried Venom Sac Equivalent (DVSE): The classical and standard measurement of dried venom contents of a honeybee. It is equivalent to 0.1 mg of dried bee venom per venom sac. The latest research has indicated that an average venom sac contains about 40-50% more venom.
Electrical Shock Stimulation: A widely used bee venom collection method to stimulate honeybees to deposit their venom on a surface from which it is later gathered and processed.
Embrocation: Lotion or liniment (liquid) like preparation that contains medicinal substances for topical application.
Homeopathy: The use of small amounts of natural substance(s) to stimulate a natural healing response in the body.
Maceration: Application of a process without heat to incorporate softened organic origin into liquid.
Monograph: A paper on a single subject or a group of objects that have a commonality.
Mother Tincture: Alcoholic or hydroalcoholic solution of a medicinal substance that represents 1/10 of the original medicinal substance in the vehicle. Symbol: Q (theta). Q=1X or 1D.
Pharmacopoeia: A standard book containing information about resources, identification, descriptions, preparation and standardization of drugs. The name originates from the Greek words “Pharmacon,” means a drug and “poieo,” means to make.
Potency: “Strength” of remedy.
Potentization: Preparation of a remedy by serial dilution and shaking.
Remedy: A substance which cures diseases or relieves its symptoms.
Solution: Tincture or homogenous state of one or more substances in a sufficiant quantity of dissolving agent.
Succussion: Vigorous shaking with impact of a diluted remedy.
Trigger Points: Tender spots.
Tincture: Alcoholic or hydroalcoholic solution of a medicinal substance.
Trituration: A method of preparation of a remedy by which a fine powdery medicinal substance otherwise insoluble in water or alcohol is ground with milk sugar.
Vehicles: A chemically neutral solid, liquid or semi-solid substance in which medicines are mixed or prepared.
Venom Sac: Its purpose is to store the venom of the bee. It is directly connected to the stinger through the channel.
Virus: Contagion or poison.

Beck, B. F. (1935) Bee Venom Therapy - Bee Venom, Its Nature, and Its Effect on Arthritic and Rheumatoid Conditions, D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., New York
Croft, L. R. (1988) Allergy to Bee Stings and Its Prevention. Elmwood Medical Monographs, ISBN 0-946019-03-7, p. 103
Kottirsch, M. and Becker, J. (1995) Honeybee As a Remedy in Homeopathy. The XXXIVth International Beekeeping Congress - Lausanne, Apimondia Publishing House, Romania, pp. 390-392
Piek, T. (Ed.) (1986) Venoms of the Hymenoptera. Academic Press. Inc., New York, NY, USA, ISBN 0-12-554771-4
Simics, M. (1999) Bee Venom Products - Excerpts from “Apis Venenum Purum.” Apitherapy Education Service - Apitronic Services, Richmond, BC, Canada, booklet, tables, pp. 10.
———, (1999) Bee Venom Collector Devices. Apitronic Services, Richmond, BC, Canada, booklet, drawings, pp. 28.

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Copyright © 2002-2005 Mihály Simics. All Rights Reserved.
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