Mexico taking to bee venom therapy

Global Business

Bee venom treatment, known as apitherapy, has been hailed by some as an effective alternative to traditional medicine. Especially in Mexico City where the practice has been growing in popularity.

CCTV’s Martin Markovits reports.

Mexico taking to bee venom therapy

Bee venom treatment, known as apitherapy, has been hailed by some as an effective alternative to traditional medicine. Especially in Mexico City where the practice has been growing in popularity. CCTV America's Martin Markovits reports.

It might come as a shock that some people would intentionally want to be stung by bees. But that’s exactly what Jaime Castillo did. A devoted basketball player, he suffered a knee injury which doctors said would sideline him for half a year. Refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer, he decided to look at alternative medical treatments and soon stumbled upon bee sting therapy otherwise known as apitherapy.

“I had gone to several doctors who specialize in sports injuries but they weren’t able to cure me,” said Castillo. “So I looked for an alternative. Two weeks later I was able to play again.”

Apitherapy has been around for years, but it’s growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional medical treatments.

Proponents say the venom from the bee sting has anti-inflammatory properties that, when applied correctly, can successfully treat patients with arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

Still there are challenges. Dr. Rosa Ledez says the unorthodox treatment turns off many potential patients.

“Most people have experienced being stung by accident,” said Ledez. “They become swollen, they get a fever. So when someone hears about a therapy involving bees they get very scared.”

Some other medical professionals are not convinced the treatment is reliable. Studies have had mixed results, and there are concerns it could have negative effects, especially with people allergic to bee stings.

Despite the doubts, Jaime Castillo says he’s going to stick to the therapy. He now plays basketball every day, thanks, he says, to apitherapy. Something that he thought would not happen for a very long time.