A bumble bee going about its business on spring flowers. Picture: Ian Landsberg

London - Bee venom is being used as a treatment for chronic back pain. In a clinical trial, patients who have had lower back pain for three or more months will be given injections of the venom.

In the trial at Kyung Hee University Hospital in South Korea, half the patients will have the venom, while the others will be given ibuprofen.

In a small study reported this month in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture, patients who had been hospitalised with lower back pain were given acupuncture or acupuncture plus bee venom; the venom treatment was more effective.

Bee venom has been used in traditional medicine for years. It is suggested that compounds in the venom act as painkillers and anti-inflammatories. - Daily Mail