BEE POLLEN THERAPY

(Investigator 157, 2014 July)


History

Bee pollen is the male sex cells of plants and is gathered by placing brushes at the bee-hive entrance, knocking the pollen off as the bees enter. The use of pollen grains in the reproduction of plants was known empirically to several ancient cultures. The earliest perhaps, the Assyrians, who employed hand pollination to ensure full yields of date palm fruits. Honey is the predigested nectar manufactured by bees and was used extensively by many ancient civilisations as a potent bactericide.


Theory

Like so many food fads popular among "New Age" advocates, it is taken as a remedy on the basis that ''because it's natural, it must be good for you".


Practice

Bee pollen is sold as a herbal remedy, usually in the form of capsules.


Assessment

Being natural doesn't necessarily mean that something is pure and safe. Fifty per cent of bee pollen consists of fungus, bacteria, insect body parts and hairs, mites, and bee fecal material. Pollens are also among the most allergenic substances in the world.

Although bee pollen is sold as a herbal remedy, because of poorly controlled manufacturing practices of herbal remedy makers, bee pollen capsules may be adulterated with many other substances.

Particularly popular with athletes, bee pollen tablets have been erroneously associated with improved athletic performance. The fallacy came about in 1972 when Lasse Viren, the Finnish long distance runner started a rumour regarding the benefits of bee pollen tablets. Research carried out at Louisiana State University however, has shown that bee pollen has no effect on the performance of runners and swimmers.

Equally erroneous is the belief that honey will provide more energy than sugar, and that the latter is "bad" for you. Both in fact, if taken in excessive quantities can produce detrimental effects.

Many false claims are associated with bee pollen. In America, the Royden Brown Pollen Company of Arizona was fined $200,000 by the Federal Trade Commission for falsely claiming that their bee pollen products could cause consumers to lose weight, permanently alleviate their allergy symptoms, and reverse the aging process.

Bee pollen has no proven medicinal value, but it does have potential for harm.







BEE VENOM THERAPY


History

Bee venom for therapeutic use dates back nearly two thousand years to Hippocrates who used it to treat arthritis-related diseases. It has also been a folk remedy cure for rheumatism for centuries.


Theory

The bee venom causes inflammation in the area where it was introduced and the body then produces anti-inflammatory hormones and other substances to help alleviate it. The bee venom is so powerful that it also treats the original condition causing the inflammation as well.


Practice

It can be administered by the sting from a live bee or a pharmaceutically prepared product.


Assessment

Bee Venom Therapy requires a series of injections or stings and there is always the prospect of suffering a fatal shock, should one be allergic to bee venom.


From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc.


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