Table of Contents
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Join Nicole and Deb Elder of The Flippin Lyme Foundation as we discuss Live Bee Venom Therapy and its many uses.
What You’ll Learn
- What is Bee Venom Therapy (or BVT)?
- How does BVT work?
- Is BVT Safe?
- How BVT helps Lyme patients
- Can BVT be used on pets?
- How much is BVT?
- Can I do Bee Venom Therapy myself?
- What is a Bee Victory Garden?
Our guest today is Deb Elder with the Flippin Lyme Foundation. After being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, Deb fell very ill. Desperate to find a way to continue living, she found Live Bee Venom Therapy, which changed her life.
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Announcer: Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast, from HeriageAcresMarket.com, where we talk about all things backyard. Poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living and more. And now here's your host Nicole.
Nicole: Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host Nicole and today we're joined by Deb, who's the Executive Director of the Flippin Lyme Foundation, and today she's here to talk to us about bee venom therapy, what we can use it for, how we go about it, and everything that there is to know about bee venom therapy. So Deb, thank you so much for joining me today.
Deb: Oh Nicole, I'm absolutely delighted to spend some time with you and make a podcast for all your viewers, and to share that information about apitherapy. My journey with Lyme disease and then discovering bee venom has been one that lots of people started following early on, and just watching me made a believer in it. So I'm really excited about sharing the work with the foundation and what's happened for the good for tens of thousands of patients now all over the United States.
Nicole: Yeah, I know you've got a lot of exciting stuff going on in your foundation and you've really had quite the journey personally with your Lyme diagnosis. Can you kind of tell some more about you and how you got into this?
Deb: Well, I suffered with quote-unquote fibromyalgia for more than 30 years, went to well over 50 doctors. They put me on about 70 different pharmaceuticals during that time. I kept having to change jobs every couple of years to adapt to less physical work. And I moved up to Oregon about 20 years ago and in 2013 I went on a camping trip in August and got bit by mosquitoes here, which gave me babesiosis and relapsing fever and some new Borrelia species.
Deb: By December I was in bed for the next 16 months and just about killed me. I had cardiac events all of 2014, in and out of the hospital six times that year, got down 110 pounds and I'm six feet tall, so that was a lot of weight I lost. I started poking around looking at treatments and bee venom was doable for me.
Nicole: Wow. That was probably really a scary situation with ... I couldn't imagine trying to figure out what's wrong with you and not getting any good answers.
Deb: Well, and the answers came down to politics and corruption in medicine because we have zero medical doctors or nurse practitioners in the state of Oregon who will diagnose or treat a Lyme patient, and that's actually common state policy through the vast majority of the United States. So we, as a nation, have got to get together and become pathogen smart. We need to start teaching our kids in elementary school, and junior high, and high school, and college, all about pathogens and how to recognize them. We've got to totally revamp our medical system and try to get some of this profiteering out of the vaccine industry, which is inhibiting a good Lyme policy for our nation.
Nicole: Why do you think it is that they're hesitant or won't diagnose Lyme? I'm not sure. I don't understand that one.
Deb: Yeah, you and me too. I don't understand it because I mean just me personally, had they treated me when I was in my 20s, number one, I think I was born with Lyme. These pathogens are congenital, so they're passed from mother to child in the womb and they're expressed in breast milk. It's been found in vaginal and seminal fluids. It's not officially declared an STD, yet there's 113 Borrelia US species and another 200 internationally and we find exactly the same species and all of the family members.
Deb: So something's congenital there. My grandfather died of Alzheimer's and under Dr. Alan MacDonald's research, he was a pathologist for the Harvard Institute Brain Bank, and so he was looking at brains of Alzheimer's patients and he found 90% of them have Lyme Borrelia in them, so we know Alzheimer's and Lyme are connected. And then my mom, of course, got sick. I lost her. She died at age 52 and was sick for about five years on and off. Nobody could figure it out back then, and then of course my own history.
Deb: I think I'm a third generation Lyme-y. But if we look at our kids today they're probably fifth generation and those kids have more confluence of pathogens, thus they're sicker than any generation previously. And it's not just ticks that are transmitting these pathogens, it's fleas like on your dog and cat, it's mosquitoes, it's spiders, it's horseflies, chiggers, lice, any kind of biting insect are transmitting pathogens. So we all need to be prepared, our clothing and like I said, be pathogen smart.
Nicole: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you mentioned earlier that there was a lack of diagnosis for Lyme disease, so how would one get diagnosed then if that was something they suspected they might have?
Deb: Well, diagnosis of Lyme is really kind of interesting right now. People can send a blood test up to Rocky Mountain Labs and they have a culture test, which means they'll put it on slides and grow it over about a six week period. And that's a definitive test there, if it grows or it doesn't. And then IGeneX Labs out of Northern California, I believe they're in San Rafael area, are really a cutting edge lab that is doing some amazing testing.
Deb: They're also looking in that lab for PCR, which is segments of the DNA from the Borrelia. And the difficulty that we really have right now in testing is that Lyme doesn't live in the blood supply much. It tends to kind of do that when it wants to migrate into different body parts, but it doesn't make a living there. Most of the testing that's out there is looking for an antibody to a current infection, and a person can go through that initial cycle and not even know that they had a tick bite or an infection in there.
Deb: That happened and they kind of go through a couple, three months of not feeling normal. They didn't get treatment during that time, and then the illness starts to change life form and it gets into joints and gets coated in a slime-like coating called a biofilm. Then that's where we get chronic infections, chronic illness, is under these biofilm communities. And of course, once they're protected under that dome, the immune system can no longer see it. I call it the Harry Potter invisibility cloak because it's exactly the same scenario. Okay?
Deb: That's what makes Lyme really tough and chronic and very life-threatening progressive, so we need to be aware. Dr. Joseph Burrascano has a free three-page questionnaire that people can ask the Google for and see what their score is at the end. It pretty much runs through a list of symptoms, and anybody can go online and take a look at that and see what your score is and see if you're at risk. But generally if a person goes to their PCP or general practitioner, they're going to get a Lyme test that's going to more likely throw a false negative than to throw a correct positive, about 90% off. That's a lot of exclusion out there in the world.
Nicole: Is there any way to get definitive treatment other than to send the blood to the Rocky Mountain Lab? I think that's what you called it.
Deb: Rocky Mountain Lab and IGeneX for testing is the ones that I like. There are some other labs out there as well that are starting to kind of look at this, but it's not consistent from state to state at this point. Testing is hard. Some people will end up maybe considering a spinal tap to look for it in other fluids, but that's going show up in about 8% of the cases. So we really need to do a lot of work on testing right now because we're not testing. And then, of course, when you end up with Lyme, you have the potential for some of the co-infections, so that can be like Anaplasma, or Rocky Mountain Fever, and babesiosis, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, any of those illnesses, that's another 50 infections, those co-infections, and often those can be worse than the Lyme itself.
Nicole: Do you know by chance, and I don't know if this a figure that you would even know, but roughly what percentage of the population is believed to have Lyme disease?
Deb: That's a great question. We don't really know. I don't think we have any clean answers in terms of accurate surveys and patient counts. One of them latest numbers was 429,000 new cases a year. That came out last year, so it's probably closer to 500,000 now. But we've got a backlog of 40 years of patients who have been misdiagnosed that are still asymptomatic that haven't been treated. They're post-Lyme, they're called, but I think that half a million could be 5% of the true number of new patients a year. I mean this really is a pandemic right now.
Deb: We know that it's six to 12 times greater than HIV and new infections currently. And of course with climate change, we have more humidity in the environment and we're seeing an expansion of areas just in the dog population. I follow the veterinary reporting of Lyme in dogs because it's more politically clean, and we're in for a tsunami of pathogens in the United States. I mean most of the nation is going to turn yellow by 2024 and a third of it easily is going to be a bright red.
Nicole: Lyme is a virus, so I assume there's no treatment for it?
Deb: Actually Lyme is a bacterium. It's a spiral-shape of a bacterium. It's almost identical to syphilis in that it in its kind of adult form it turns into this coarse grew with a mouth on it and that'll bore through your muscle, and your nerve, and your bone, and your brain, and get everywhere throughout your body. But syphilis has 62 DNA strands. Lyme Borrelia has 124, so it's really smart, and it shape shifts and it changes. If you start to treat it, it'll jump into a cyst form and protect itself and then float around the body and take hold and start up a new colony. It's really amazing pathogen in a lot of ways, but it's a very serious one. It actually will edit your DNA and instill its own DNA into you. And so we cannot cure Lyme, we can only put it into remission.
Nicole: Can you tell me more about what bee venom therapy is in general then?
Deb: Well, generally what we're doing is we're taking live honeybees, and we grab them with a pair of tongs, and that's the hardest part of venom is catching a bee with a pair of tongs, but it's not hard. We apply them beginning kind of about an inch away from the spine, below the neck and above the waist. We start very slowly with patients. The very first thing we do, it's called a testing, where we'll put the stinger in and we'll leave it for five seconds, then we'll scrape it off so that we don't inject any more venom in. Then we sit and talk to the person for at least half an hour.
Deb: Now, this person has been prepared, so they've got an EpiPen in case they see true anaphalctic shock they can jab that in their thigh and inject themselves with epinephrin, and then immediately they're going to go to the emergency room and have that medication managed under a doctor's care. But more likely what they'll do is take a little children's liquid Benadryl, reduce the histamine response.
Deb: I've never had a bad response on a person yet for our testing. Then, if they're fine, I'll go ahead and do two full stings the first session. We'll do three sessions a week, progressively building up to at least 10 stings a session and then stay on the back moving up and down for about the first two to three months. The back is a large playing field, it's wide, and it allows for swelling and it's not a terrible place. I mean you don't want to start on your hand or your wrist because it'll swell up, kind of like a cul de sac, so if we could start on the back, it's a great place to begin.
Deb: And additionally, we like to put venom in the body near the nerves because the venom is a very fine molecule and it'll get into your nervous pathway and run, and it'll run to your organs, it'll run to your gut, it'll run up into your brain and your eyes, for example, anywhere you have a nervous system. This is part of why it's absolutely the most amazing treatment for neuropathy and nerve pain because we're putting venom right in the nervous system. So yeah, that's kind of how people begin.
Nicole: Other than Lyme, what all can bee venom be used to treat or to resolve symptoms of?
Deb: Ah, I mean it's been used to treat cancers. They've done people who sting the actual tumors themselves with bee venom can expect the tumors to recede to a remission point in about a six month time. We can treat HIV patients with it because it is antiviral. And I personally have used it to sting my chest and knock down common colds. I mean, you end up with a cold that's about 20% and you still have good energy level.
Deb: Then, of course, it's great for bacterial infections, which is our Lyme, and it's absolutely cape hanging super power is that it has an ability to poke holes in the biofilm community and collapse them. This is, by far, the most important aspect I think of venom. If you're taking antibiotics, if you're using herbals, if you're doing any kind of a treatment, the venom is going to allow that treatment to access the areas and work more effectively as well, so you can work with this in combination.
Deb: But as far as who can do it, the question is really probably bigger, "Who can't do it?" As far as condition, MS, it's been used for 20 years for arthritis, obviously for a lot of years because you can sting the joints and get pain relief. Venom also dissolves scar tissue in the body, which I've seen and experienced myself, and that opens up the energy pathways of the body. I mean this is kind of like the elixir of youth where you can reverse aging if you put enough venom in. There's so many uses for this. It's just amazing. Also, if you have a fracture or a break, a bone or a surgery, it will help to rebuild nice, clean, healthy, dense bone for you after those events.
Nicole: One thing that I'm assuming is a common question that you probably receive, but what about the safety of it? You hear so many people have an allergic reaction to bees. How can this be done safely to minimize the allergic reaction?
Deb: Typically what people ... There are two kinds of responses to a bee. You're going to get a histamine response, which is a localized redness and swelling and that's not what I consider a true allergy. For me, a true allergy is more like an anaphalctic response where you have difficulty breathing or you can't swallow. But if you're just getting that localized redness and swelling, that histamine response, that's actually what we're using to promote a healing crisis within the body. This is really typical of Lyme patients, that their immune system is shut down, that they're not responsive to pathogens and they're not fighting for the welfare of their body. That by having some venom in the system, we're initiating the adrenal glands to kick in and start producing cortisol.
Deb: Now, it needs vitamin C as a fuel for that, so we take 3000 milligrams a day, a thousand at breakfast, then lunch and dinner, so we're always topping off that vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C is water soluble, so you'll lose that in about an hour through urine. But if we have enough vitamin C on board, we can produce cortisol and the cortisol is a pain reliever that's actually 10 times stronger than fentanyl. It's common for our bee venom patients to have pain relief for up to two weeks just in their first bee session, so it's exceptional pain.
Deb: But that cortisol floods the area where the stinger is with your lymph system, which of course is going to dilute the chemical venom itself and flush that area, and then your body's going to send some hot blood from the heart to that area. The heat helps to break down the chemicals of the venom as well. And those two processes are part of the healing that we're capturing in what we're doing, so we want that healing crisis. We want that histamine response. But more than that, we want to control the histamine response, especially in the beginning, and what will happen is that person will ...
Deb: They'll go through a three to five week window where they itch and then, after that, it all stops and shuts down and the histamine responses get smaller and smaller. I can sting my forehead and sit and have lunch with you 30 minutes later and you'll never tell them I've been stung on my face, my body's used to it.
Nicole: And do you still take the vitamin C?
Deb: Absolutely. I take vitamin C every day.
Nicole: So that's not just for the beginners, that's kind of during the whole therapy?
Deb: Right. It is absolutely essential that you take vitamin C when you're in this process regularly, on sting days and on non-sting days. It's important. It's just true. There's been a lot of research on vitamin C and treating illnesses and cancers and that, that it's very beneficial. And often I hear people say, "Oh, I drink a glass of orange juice in the morning," and that concerns me a little bit because that has 84 milligrams of vitamin C and a great deal of sugar, and sugar is going to grow pathogens. I'd prefer to see people do an actual supplement of a thousand milligrams.
Nicole: One allergic reaction thing, probably just because I'm a paramedic I find pretty interesting, but I know that with beekeepers there's the risk of ... You can be a beekeeper for 20 years and get thousands of stings, but all of a sudden it's that one sting that does you in for the anaphylactic response. Is that something that the vitamin C and stuff can help mitigate as far as receiving the therapy? Or what's the difference I guess, in preventing that when you're intentionally stinging?
Deb: Right. Well, and I'm a beekeeper as well. I'm in the Oregon State Master Beekeeping program and I go out and work with my bees. I tend to tell the beekeepers, "Take your vitamin C before you play with bees because if you don't have an adequate vitamin C level, and not everybody takes vitamin C every day, they just rely on their diet, which their diet's never going to give them an adequate dosage of C. So you can certainly develop an anaphylactic shock at any time," which is why we have mandatory ... All of us have current EpiPen, period. I will not talk to or work with anybody who have that.
Deb: But that beekeeper that doesn't have vitamin C, that adrenal gland's going to reach up into the brain in that fatty tissue up there to extract the last bit of vitamin C in storage, and you will very likely see a shock response in that kind of a situation. Somebody who is deficient C. I mean I don't see it at all in my patient base. I've never seen a shock response in any of us. I've never even seen a terrible histamine response where somebody needed to take Benadryl.
Deb: I've had conversations with maybe 20 individuals in the last five years that mentioned that they sipped on some at one point, which is totally fine, you're going to kill the venom, but that's okay. You'll get more venom in your next session.
Nicole: So if somebody is actually diagnosed allergic to bees or if they had a previous anaphylactic response to bees, are they able to receive bee venom therapy?
Deb: Yes. Typically, what I'll tell people that we know for sure are shock response. Most people know their childhood and their history, if they've been stung by a bee or a wasp and how they responded. But even those people that are shock prone, they can go to an allergy physician and do, under supervision, injectable venom. And those doctors actually inject venom right into a person's back, kind of the same way we do. and start them off with a low dose and then build them up. And then under that supervision they can get up to a higher level and then they can come see me and then we would take that person and only do testings on them.
Deb: So people can go to a medical doctor allergist and get the dried venom that's in a formula and have that injected in. Then the doctor will continue to do injections in their back to a higher level and build up their immunity to the venom and desensitize them. Then they can come to me, or they can start on their own, and just do a series of testings only and continually build up to longer periods of time on your testings. You just want to watch the person's response and see how they're responding, at all times with all people, and base what your sting pattern is going to be on how the person feels and what they want to do. They're in charge, it's their body, so I tend to follow their lead.
Nicole: Generally speaking, it sounds like an allergic reaction to bee stings is probably a vitamin C deficiency. Is that safe to say?
Deb: I would agree. I think that the majority of people, unless you're regularly taking C at least one a day in the morning, you're probably going to be deficient. And how many children are taking vitamin C every day? Probably not all of them. I can remember being in the play yard and we had clover out in our grass, get a bee come up your pants and sting your leg. Well, you may not have enough vitamin C on hand.
Nicole: Well, I guess if even if people don't partake in the bee venom therapy, in the takeaway we all need to take vitamin C. It sounds good for about everybody.
Deb: I agree with that. I went to my naturopath when I was really sick in 2014 and she had me on IVs, and she was putting 50,000 milligrams of C in an IV. She said, "Within an hour, Deb, it will be gone. You'll pee it right out," so it's really difficult, I'm told, to overdose on vitamin C. I should probably have a disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor, I am a Lyme disease patient and I'm sharing my experience and the experience of the thousands of patients that I've helped. But I just don't see an unregulated histamine response in our people. We just don't see it.
Nicole: And to follow up with your disclosure, how long have you been working with bee venom therapy?
Deb: I started what, in '14? I guess we're five years now I've been stinging myself, and sharing my story with people, and probably I've had my little clinic running for at least three years now. I do a lot of coaching on the phone to people all over the nation, in fact, internationally. I get people from foreign countries, and with a lot of the new Google translate features, I can talk to people in just about any language and I'll provide them with resources.
Deb: Of course, we've got our video series and that doesn't matter what language you speak, you can kind of just follow along and watch those and copy it at home and give it a shot.
Nicole: And how many people have you helped in the last five years?
Deb: I've lost count. I've personally stung probably over a hundred. If I look at our blog talk radio show, we've had over 30,000 listens, which is pretty good. I've got four different YouTube channels. I need to combine everything. but I started doing seminars and videotaping those in 2015, and so there's a number of those available to watch. Then I do ongoing videos with the Flippin Lyme channel as well.
Nicole: So of the hundreds of patients that you've treated over the years, you've never had anybody that has had a negative reaction to the therapy?
Deb: No. And then what we'll do is we'll start people off, they'll come see me and we'll get them started. Maybe do one or two stings. Depends on who they are. I mean if they're somebody that has Lyme and they're really sick, I know their pathogen load is high, so I'm going to go very slow. Our patients that come to me that maybe just have pain or arthritis or something, they can really, surprisingly you can ramp those people up really quickly because they don't have the huge biofilms and other loads that we're seeing.
Deb: It's pretty individual and I approach it individual, individual and I never chase anybody with a bee and I never admonish anybody for not stinging enough, or too little or whatever. I'm kind of a coach. I'll listen to what's going on with them and we'll work up a plan. I generally try to get them to tell me like, "Pick one or two major components in the body that you want to work on, and if you try to pick more than that, you're going to kind of waste your time a little bit, and then work on one or two of those and continue to build up your total number stings."
Deb: Your stings are kind of like ammunition and so the higher level of stings that you can get to, the more work you can get done over a period of time. But the true limit of bee venom is the person's ability to detox the dead material that gets created. This is the thing that we have to really manage highly. This is more of a threat than a shock response by far. And that Herxheimer response can make you feel like you have the flu, or you're sick, you're kind of just backed up and you just feel lousy.
Deb: Sometimes it can change a person's demeanor and their aptitude and they'll certainly increase pain in a lot of their symptoms. My goal is to make sure that we come right up next to that limit, but not exceed it, and so we would just start off really slowly the first couple of months. And after about 60 days, this process ironically happens to our lymph system and, as a lot of people know about the heart and having the artery and the veins as a circulatory system. The lymph system is the third most important recirculation system of the body and the venom is so small that it'll get inside of those little passageways and in the glands and it'll clean them out like Roto-Rooter.
Deb: You'll end up with these little waxy protrusions on the surface of your skin. You'll notice them when you're taking a shower and they just slough off, and that's opening up all that area so that your whole lymph system starts flowing kind of wide open again and that enhances the patient's ability to detox. When we get kind of past that point, then we can start stepping up their stings even higher.
Nicole: So does that waxy discharge happen with everybody?
Deb: Generally, yes. That's just a natural part of the process of the body. But the older we get the more kind of build up of plaque and material on the sidewalls, and in crevices and places. Your veins are not going to be as strong in elastic at 60 as they are when you're 20, and the same as the rest of your body. It's a natural part of a process at the end of the day, but it's worse, I think, in our Lyme patients because they just really don't detox well. We've got so many pathogens on board that a lot of those systems just get overwhelmed and they get kind of full of sludge and gummed up. A lot of people will do hot saunas, or hot baths, or radiant heat kinds of therapy, and dry skin brushing.
Deb: Those are all really good for the lymph system. I tend to drink a lemon salt water mixture all day long myself for my detox, and I have a video on that. So a detox's is really job number one would be venom.
Nicole: The bee venom therapy in general, I guess it's one of those things, for lack of better terms, kind of like essential oils and other natural therapies. It's something that I assume is not actually FDA approved and that's why we don't actually hear physicians talking about it, or promoting it, or suggesting it?
Deb: Yeah, you're absolutely right. There is an existing ban by the FDA on live bee venom therapy and I haven't really looked up the findings. I've kind of searched it around a little bit. But what I'm told is, is that the FDA feels that the butt of a bee where her stinger protrudes out of is unhygienic. It's not clean. And so therefore they can't suggest or allow their medical community of doctors and nurses to encourage people to get stung.
Deb: Essentially, the venom stinger itself is a hypodermic needle. And at the very most what we'll see in a patient is a little small infection sometimes because the skin's not clean when they get stung, and that takes about five days to resolve. But we don't ever see any infections beyond that ever with this. Generally if you did, the venom would kill the infection, so it's very unlikely that somebody's going to see anything long-term from an unclean bee's bottom.
Nicole: Venom from a bee is unclean, but, and if I understand it correctly, they actually do have a pharmaceutically lab created venom alternative, I guess, that they're testing. Is that correct?
Deb: Yeah, the venom itself is clear and sterile. In fact, they've found that pesticides that get into bees don't actually get into the venom, so the venom is very pure. They're working right now, the FDA and a lot of the pharma people, on a artificial melatin. Now, if we look at the chemicals of the venom itself, there are about 75 components, but the majority of it, melatin runs, I think about 78% of venom total volume. That is a highly volatile gas, you can think of it.
Deb: In the venom collection process, typically a beekeeper will put this glass plate on there and it's got electrodes running across it and hook it to a car battery, and that's kind of a shock plate. And the honeybees will come back from their work and walk over the plate and it gives him a mild shock and the bees will sting the glass. But because the barbs or the stinger won't attach to glass, she retains her stinger and then she just walks into the hive.
Deb: At the end of the day, the beekeeper will come on with a razor blade and they'll scrape off that dried venom and collect it and send it into labs who will prepare it to send out to allergy doctors for injectable. Some people also use it in skincare products for wrinkles. It's very good for that. So there are uses for it.
Deb: But unfortunately, because of the volatile nature of melatin, we lose the vast majority of it in a dry situation. Melatin, by Rocky Mountain Labs again, did a test of Borrelia and its effect when it interacted with bee venom and it kills it, and it's the melatin proven to kill the Lyme. We want as much melatin as possible and that's why we really don't have a choice if we're treating chronic illness that we have to go with venom.
Nicole: Well, to me, that kind of shows some more concrete scientific proof that the therapies are actually effective, just that they want to make sure that you have a prescription and do it their way. But obviously there's the scientific backing on it as well, in addition to just the known history of it
Deb: Yeah. That's the gist of how venom really works. But there is an artificial melatin coming out. I think it's going to be probably in the next 18 months, so we'll see how that works on patients. We're doing three sting sessions a week, so we're constantly adding venom to our patients at their kitchen table. Any kind of a FDA product would need to be applied by a qualified provider, and I don't know if a person would be able to afford to go see them often enough for a similar treatment.
Nicole: So for those that might be a little more skeptical, I mean, it's not just some make believe thing, there's actual concrete evidence that this does work.
Deb: Well, they know it works. That's the thing. The US Navy has studied it, NIH has studied it. I mean there's ... If I go into my Facebook group, Apitherapy, to treat pathogens and I know Nicole's going to offer the links to all of this on the show, we have a file section there and it's that place that I have, I think there's about 25 or 30 different studies that have been accumulated. Every time I find one I put in there. Or the American Apitherapy Society also does a lot of studies and they'll share their work out there as well.
Nicole: Can bee venom therapy be used for pets or is it kind of isolated to being used on people?
Deb: Actually, venom can be used on pets. Absolutely. I encourage people to sting their whole family, which includes their pets. The interesting thing about animals is they actually produce their own vitamin C so we don't need to supplement them. I've stung my cat. In fact, you can see a video on Apitherapy for Cats on YouTube. Recently I stung a chicken that's got injuries and she recovered, and is still here in my living room actually, still recovering, but she's showing really huge advances in just a 24 hour period in her illness.
Deb: And then a friend of mine, I was going over and assisting and her daughter, who has really bad Lyme, and she looked at me and they had a dog named Ginger. She's a little boxer, about 60 pounds. Ginger had tumors. She was about seven and she was kind of listless, not wanting to do a lot, didn't feel good. And she looks at me and she says, "I think I want to sting Ginger, Deb," and I said, "I think you should," so we started stinting Ginger. I said, "Well, here's what I would do," and we did one over her hips and then one over her shoulders, we put some little snap barrettes and put those in her hair so we could find the stingers. We did two on her.
Deb: She called me up about a week later, she says, "Deb, Ginger is smiling, and playing with toys, and running around the yard. She's like a two-year-old dog again." When they get ready to sting their daughter they'll ask Ginger, "Do you want a bee?" And she'll come over and get really close like, "Okay, yeah. Do me." It's really just made a world of difference with her dog, Ginger. She's a happy dog now.
Nicole: I know we'd talked a little bit outside of the podcast and you mentioned using it for horses as well.
Deb: Yeah, I'm currently doing some volunteer work for Oregon Horse Rescue and I'm looking for a horse barn that wants to start doing some apitherapy. I'd like to hold some clinics where we can teach the horse owners how to sting their horses to keep them healthy. And, of course, the horses out here at Oregon Horse Rescue are going to be themselves because a lot of them are disabled and sanctuary horses, could use a little bit of help with their health needs as well.
Deb: I think eventually I'll get into stinging horses. I have a horse background and so it would fit right in to my passions, that's for sure. I'll keep everybody posted with videos as we go along with that. But I've read many reports and accounts where it has been used on horses, so there's no problem there.
Nicole: And are there any reasons that somebody should not partake in therapy?
Deb: There are a couple. Anybody who might have a mast cell activation situation, we want to be ultra cautious them because they don't metabolize the venom properly. And there's probably about six patients I've encountered who have had that. Often our Lyme community knows their bodies pretty well and they've done some DNA testing and they found some genetic mutations and other causatives concerned for them.
Deb: But other than that, no. I think just about anybody can and, in my mind should, be doing venom. I think at the end of the day, if I'd had been 20 years old and started this, I would not be disabled today and I would still be going to work and this is the pinnacle of my earnings right now at my age. I'm not out there doing it because I'm disabled. That's what 30 years of failure to treat has done for me.
Deb: I'd like to see this become kind of more of a tribal knowledge where everybody use it. I remember during World War II they had what they call the victory gardens, and there was not enough food to make food to send to the soldiers and feed America, so the government had a program where they wanted everybody to grow a garden. I want us to do a bee venom victory garden where all of us have a beehive in our backyard where we can grow our own medicine in our hive, in our bees, and venom is by far the most valuable product of a beehive, times a thousand in my mind.
Deb: But you're going to get honey with all its great natural enzymes and healing properties for wounds and that, and you're going to get propolis, which is a natural antibiotic, and you're going to get pollen that you can use for allergies and that. Everybody's going to be healthier as a nation if we could all adopt a venom therapy, kind of tribal knowledge again.
Deb: If we look at history, I mean, number one, this is not new. Apitherapy is Chinese medicine dating back more than 6,000 years. But if we look back, even here in Americas, it was very common up to the end of the 1800s for grandma to go out to her flowers and grab a bee and sting herself for arthritis. And then big pharma came along and said, "Oh grandma, we don't have to hurt you with a bee. Isn't that terrible to get stung? Let's go take a pill instead."
Nicole: What are some of the most common questions that you're asked for first time recipients, or those that just want to know more about venom in general?
Deb: Yeah, I mean I just would like people to kind of set down some of their fears that they learned. In fact, it was a couple of years ago with my local bee club, I went out to the children's rodeo, which the day before the whole bigger rodeo event happens, they have a little tiny event for the kids to come. I took out my little bee housing unit up there with some live bees in it. And this little girl and her mom and her brother came up and she was about six, and she came and she put her nose up against the acrylic and she goes, "I'm afraid of bees." I looked at her and I said, "Well, that's really great," and she kind of perked up and looked at me sideways. She was not looking for that response.
Deb: Her mom kind of cued in. I said, "Well, you learned to be afraid of bees, right?" She said, "Yeah, I sure did." I said, "Well, that tells me that you're smart enough to learn to not be afraid of them too," and that's true of all of us. We can choose our fears and I would like to encourage people to overcome their fears and open up themselves for some of the most remarkable healing journey that you'll ever go on.
Deb: 99% of the people who try this end up saying something very positive about it and I would say at least 85% continue to sting after I've gotten them started. My goal is to not sting people. My goal is to teach people to sting themselves because I want to teach you how to fish, so that you'll have this available to do for yourself for the rest of your life, and that you can teach your family and friends and loved ones.
Deb: I just want to see people grab onto this and start using it and adding it to their tool box. It's kind of like having band-aids, and some kind of ointment, and a first aid kit. This is an extension of that. But I will sting myself for the rest of my life. This is a cheap way for me to stay healthy and optimal in my life, as well as I'm going to go out and I'm going to kayak, and hike, and play with horses, and garden and be outside, so I'm going to have exposure in the environment.
Deb: If I were to get bit by a mosquito or whatever, I would grab some bees and start stinging around that area and flood it with venom, and try to knock down any pathogen right before it got to take hold. Now, if you're not actively stinging, you don't have that as an option. For me, it's kind of a smart idea that I have this is an option for me. I've already cleared all the hands, and arms, and feet, and head and everything with venom so I can sting myself anywhere on my body now.
Deb: I had a incident where my kitten bit my arm and pierced the skin and so I went and washed it off with a little soap and water and I grabbed about six bees and I just stung a circle all the way around that. I did that for about three days in a row just to kind of saturate that area with venom to prevent any illness, and it healed up just fine and I haven't had any new symptoms.
Nicole: What do you tell the skeptics that tell you that this is just a bunch of voodoo nonsense?
Deb: I feel like everybody's entitled to their opinion, even if they are wrong. I just think if you have not tried this or you haven't witnessed somebody who is starting it and using it, and you've seen the change in them firsthand, then you may not get this. And that's cool. I mean this might not be for every single person. I think the person that comes to this had a lot of medical people tell them some untruths about themselves and haven't validated their illness or how they're feeling. There's a lot of people out there that are not getting any kind of treatment at all.
Deb: We've got doctors with a Hippocratic Oath of do no harm, yet failure to treat is equal to harm, so we have to do something. We've got a lot of people that are sick, and suffering, and in trouble and in pain. I think I'd rather sting people than face an opiate crisis. I think I would rather sting people than deal with breast cancer and some of these other illnesses, I think I'd rather sting people and get them back to work 60%, 75% faster with venom in a healthier condition.
Deb: Just the sting process itself is going to build a much stronger immune system overall and prevent illness, especially in the elderly. I had this really amazing lady named Wilma that came to see me. She was 86-years-old and she had arthritis so bad she couldn't catch bees. And so I would sting her, and we were stinging her knuckles, and her shoulders and when she'd come see me, she'd walk in the door and she could lift her hands about a foot off of her hips maybe. She couldn't get them up over her head.
Deb: That lady would walk out of here. She had her hands up over her head like a cheerleader, I mean, so just in that amount of time she would get relief from her symptoms and pain, and she'd come see me about a week later and I'd seen her again. So she swore by bee venom. She begged me to keep stinging her, so I don't know. It's just I'm not here to placate the people that don't want to believe it. I'm here to coach and guide those who are interested or curious. Or if they have a loved one who just hasn't gotten answers that wants to try something, I look back on like my history of more than 30-35 years now, treating my body.
Deb: I look at all of Lyme patient friends and I don't see anything out there that's equitable to bee venom right now. I mean they're just isn't. We can look at some of the CRISPR DNA editing and some of that might be a potential to treat Lyme patients and maybe provide a true cure, but it's $20,000-$40,000 dollars at this point and 50% of the Lyme patients get worse. So we have a lot to learn there. The medical community has a lot of ground to cover.
Deb: People who don't want to get stung can certainly look at I-LABS. They're a good organization of MDs that are treating and they're using antibiotics, very high dose antibiotics and herbals in combinations therapies. I know Dr. Richard Horowitz has a book out on how to get better. That's some of the most current I-LABS treatment guidelines, so if you don't want to get stung by a bee, you might consult with some of that medium.
Deb: But we get people that call me up and they've been watching me for four years, and they've spent $40,000 since I met them at a rally on this, that, and the other, and traveling doctor to doctor, and they're not any better. And we put them on bee venom and three months later they call me and they say, "You know, Deb. I'm better in this last three months than I am in the last five years," and then there's no pinnacle to where you stop getting better.
Deb: You can do more and more stings over time and really treat things. There's a lot yet to be learned and explored with venom. They call me the Mikey of bee venom because I'll try anything. I've done daily stinging for 30 days and I got about 30% better during that time, so I think there's a lot to be learned yet.
Nicole: So if somebody says, "Okay, this all sounds great and I have," whatever ailments that they might have, "And I want to start venom therapy. I want to give it a go, I want to try it." What's step one? How does somebody get started?
Deb: The first thing they'd want to do is shoot me an email, and you're going to share the link to that, and I will send them our written protocol so they can read verbatim, step-by-step of what all the steps are. I have all the links to our radio show, we have a blog talk radio show with 11 two-hour episodes on apitherapy. Then we have our YouTube channel with videos,
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