Heidrun Mannle, Thomas Riepen, Karsten Munstedt

Aim: Studies show that patients’ acceptance of bee products as a remedy for various illnesses is rather low. For example, honey is often perceived as being too sweet. Since there is good evidence that bee products are useful in some indications (e.g., honey for oral mucositis), it seems important to know the amount of bee products which were tolerated by most patients.Methods: In a prospective study, we asked 220 patients which amounts of various bee products they would be willing to accept using a structured assessment sheet. Results: If patients already consumed honey, they were more willing to accept more honey on a daily basis (62.7 g consumer vs. 36.6 g nonconsumer). Live bee sting therapy was much less accepted compared to treatment with bee venom injections or bee venom oint-ment. The mean maximum amounts of bee pollen or royal jelly which patients regarded to be acceptable were 14.1 g (pollen) and 32.4 g (royal jelly). Interestingly enough, it was shown that they would be willing to accept higher amounts of bee products if they were informed about the treatment by physicians. Information from friends, relatives, pharmacists, or a heilpraktiker (a special type of health practitioner in Germany) did not have such a positive influence. Conclusion: Patients’ compliance is an important issue also in the field of traditional and natural medicine. This study provides some insights to patients’ willingness to accept bee remedies thus allowing a better planning of trials and a better patient consultation