Apitoxin, or bee venom, is a liquid with a sweetish and then bitter taste, clear and colorless, soluble in water but not in alcohol. The active portion of the poison consists of a complex mixture of proteins which causes local inflammation and acts as an anticoagulant.
The poison is produced by the bee venom apparatus placed in the abdomen of worker bees and obtained from the mixture of both acidic and basic secretions. The apitoxin, resulting from the mixture, is acidic (pH 4.5 to 5.5).
The density is 1.13. A bee can inject about 0.1-0.2 mg of venom through its stinger. Apitoxin is similar to snake venom and nettle toxin. It is estimated that around 1% of the population is allergic to bee stings. Apitoxin can be neutralized by ethanol, but not by high or low temperatures.
Bee Venom: from venom to drug
About this very interesting issue, Bee Venom: From Venom to Drug, study published on the Molecules magazine, said: "Insects of the order Hymenoptera have a defensive substance that contains many biologically active compounds.
Specifically, venom from honeybees (Apis mellifera) contains many enzymes and peptides that are effective against various diseases. Different research papers stated the possibility of using bee venom (a direct bee sting or in an injectable form) in treating several complications; either in vivo or in vitro.
Other reports used the active fractions of bee venom clinically or at labratory scale. Many reports and publications have stated that bee venom and its constituents have multiple biological activities including anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic properties.
The present review aims to refer to the use of bee venom itself or its fractions in treating several diseases and counteracting drug toxicities as an alternative protocol of therapy. ed molecular mechanisms of actions of bee venom and its components are discussed in light of the previous updated publications.
The review also summarizes the potential of venom loaded on nanoparticles as a drug delivery vehicle and its molecular mechanisms. Finally, the products of bee venom available in markets are also demonstrated. "