Bee venom used to treat arthritis in Norwich woman

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A Norwich, Kansas woman has a unique approach to treating her arthritis by using bee venom as a medication.

Sharon Rowan says she suffers from debilitating arthritis in her hands and one day, she had enough and knew she needed a new treatment.

“It was enough that the joints would just throb. It hurt to write, it hurt to do anything,” Rowan said. “That is when it’s time to think about it, its time to minimize this pain.”

She had friends that used bee venom as a treatment for arthritis and she gave it a try. Rowan has been an avid beekeeper for the past 50 years.

“I put a bee down there on it and it worked, because it quit hurting,” Rowan said of her hand pain from arthritis. “I talked to my doctor about it and he said it works as good as my shot will so go for it.”

Some people are deathly allergic to bee stings; always consult a doctor before trying a new medical treatment. Rowan credits her 50 years as a beekeeper for being able not to have an allergic reaction to bee venom.

“It stings, but it doesn't hurt any worse than some of the shots I have had for different purposes,” Rowan said.

Rowan has been operating Rowan Honey Shop for over 15 years in Norwich, Kansas. Specializing in all things honey, she has about 100 bee hives; she says that honeybees are being used for holistic medicine more and more.

“You will find they are using a lot of bee venom and honey for a lot more medical things than they did 20 years ago,” she said.

Dr. Brad Weeks out of the Seattle, Washington area says that he has been advocating the use of bee honey and venom for years.

“There are components of bee venom that are more powerful as an anti-inflammatory agent than prednisone,” Dr. Weeks said over the phone. He says that bee venom has multiple agents in it that can help alleviate pain.

Over the phone, Dr. Weeks said that it is somewhat polarizing; bee venom can cause a local reaction that is painful, but also give good results for relieving pain. He says that the use of bees in medicine is a growing field. 

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