Dr. Weeks’ Comment: The following is an abstract of a speech delivered in October 2013 to the Western Apicultural Society, at their Annual meeting in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
The Practice of Apitherapy
© 2013 Bradford S. Weeks, M.D.
Dr. Weeks, co-founder and president emeritus of the American Apitherapy Society (AAS) discussed apitherapy, the medicinal use of honey bee products: bee venom, raw honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis, bees’ wax and brood. His purpose was to help beekeepers appreciate the treasure trove of health and wealth which hums within each hive. Formerly a “folk” medicine remedy, honey bee products now have been scrutinized by scientists around the world and Dr. Weeks elucidated the scientific rationale for endorsing the hard working honey bee as “physician assistant”. The motivation for the lecture was to empower beekeepers to value and profit not only from pollination services and the sale of honey, but to participate in apitherapy as well – for profit but also for the good of many people suffering with chronic diseases.
The various remedies available from the bee hiver were introduced as follows:
1) BEE VENOM
Dr. Weeks, with tongue only partially in cheek, referred to the genre of magazines at the supermarket check out line as the best of medical journals for only in the likes of the Star, the Daily Mail etc. are home remedies like honegar (apple cider and honey toddy) discussed as well as sensationalized accounts of people being stung by bees. For example: Dateline: 12/31/91 The Sun (typical popular press sensational account) “Man’s arthritis cured by falling into beehive. Accidental topple into beehives results in 1,000s of stings and necessitated a rush to the hospital in Hartford CT, but George Farmer survived to tell his story. He was so covered with stings that you couldn’t see any part of his body.” reports beekeeping son Mark Farmer. The patient went through a typical “healing crisis” where “He was bloated and red like an overripe tomato”. But the next day, “He was sitting up in bed and joking even though he still looked like raw hamburger”. “I feel wonderful” George says, “There isn’t a single ache or pain anywhere. I haven’t felt so good in 30 years!” George’s doctor, Nolan Johnson MD credits George’s astonishing cure to bee stings.”
THE WOMAN WHO STINGS HERSELF WITH BEES TO CONTROL MS
DAILY MAIL Wed Dec 29 2004 “She admits it hurts. But Paula Cooke believes allowing herself to be stung by bees every day is helping in her battle against MS….”
2) RAW HONEY topical usage was described to successfully treat the following ailments: burn, (this is an increasingly common use of honey in hospital emergency rooms (ER) , as a sterilizing and regenerative topical remedy for surgical dressings, anti-fungal, anti-acne, pink-eye, intranasal for pharyngitis (sore throat), Descriptions of raw honey when taken orally were described as lowering blood sugar and serving as an anti-colic for infants.
BEE POLLEN was described as “world’s most perfect food”, and recommended as a protein supplement for everyone but of particular benefit for vegetarians. Its common use as a treatment for allergies was reviewed.
PROPOLIS also referred to as “Russian Penicillin” was described reference to its high concentration of bioflavonoids as well as its proven ability to bind lipids in the gastro-intestinal tract and lower serum total cholesterol. Like raw honey, propolis confers topical and oral anti-biotic and anti-fungal benefits and is often used in dentistry as temporary filling since no germs persist when in direct contact with this nutrient dense goo from the hive.
BEES’ WAX was described as part of folk remedy for burns as well as for its well known commercial use as a base for dermatological creams
ROYAL JELLY is a precious nutritional supplement rich in vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and well as a potent anti-aging remedy provided it has been harvested and processed in a manner which avoids oxidation and rancidity.
Honeybee venom has a rich and storied reputation as being good for “whatever ails you” throughout the centuries. Venoms are prime templates for powerful medicine being as they are comprised of molecules with high biological activity. Despite the stigma of a poison being dangerous, Dr. Weeks reminded us of the time honored wisdom of the 15th century physician Paracelsus who taught “Poison is a matter of dosage”.
Risk of allergic reaction:
Dr. Weeks stressed that allergies to bee venom are unpredictable wherein a beekeeper who is not allergic presently to venom could develop a life-threatening allergy if his or her system were to become stressed (lowering cortisol and DHEA) so it is critically important for all beekeepers to have, on hand, a bee sting kit (adrenalin shot, Benadryl, anti-inflammatory agent like the three-seed drink made from berries Soul (www.myrainlife.com/safalab) and tablets of vitamin C (an anti-histamine).
Dr. Weeks reviewed his 30 years of offering apitherapy and described benefits for people suffering with the following ailments:
1) Arthritis: (RA,OA, JRA, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow), sciatica, back pain, plantar faciatis;
2) Neurological Illnesses: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, ALS
3) Cancers: (breast, prostate, colon, melanoma and other skin cancers)
4) Infective diseases: viral (hepatitis, mononucleosis, warts, meningitis) , retro-viral (AIDs), spirochete (Lyme’s disease);
Rationales for the mechanism of action include the Irritant / Counter-Irritant Therapy which involves the irritant eliciting from the body a response which is therapeutic. Fever was an example of a symptom in response to an irritant (infection) which is therapeutic. “Give me the power to create fever and I will cure all illness”. Parmenides (500 BC)
In addition, bee venom being a therapy which bring an enthusiastic response is in concert with the philosophy of the great founder of homeopathy Dr. Samuel Hahnemann who taught: “You can never cure a chronic illness, the best you can hope for is to make it acute and then you can cure it!” Since bee venom has the effect of taking a chronic process (long-standing arthritis) and inflaming it, we learned how venom renders acute and remediable which had festered beyond the reach of medicines.
NUTRITIONAL ADJUNCTIVE THERAPY
Dr. Weeks stressed that the use of bee venom ought to only be administered to a person who is well nourished because ultimately the body is the physician. The body is the miracle worker – and only a well-nourished body can respond optimally to the challenge and stress of bee venom. The metaphor of bee venom as a “jockey” whose job is to get the speed out of a “race horse” (representing the immune system in this metaphor) was described in order to make the point that the responsible racehorse owner would also employ the services of a “trainer/groom” (in the metaphor, the nutritionist whose role at the end of the race would be to revitalize the racehorse “race horse”. Of all the nutrients, primary importance was placed by Dr. Weeks of good clean water. Hydration is critically important for anyone receiving apitherapy since water serves to buffer, biochemically speaking, physiological reactions optimizing response the challenge of the venom. Dr. Weeks encourages all apitherapy patients to drink ½ their weight in ounces a day away from food (this is important since drinking water with meals dilutes stomach acid and inhibits digestive forces). The easy bench mark is to drink enough water to keep the urine clear or light straw yellow.
The following essential supplements were recommend for anyone receiving apitherapy:
1) SOUL – the 3-seed anti-inflammatory drink – oral and topical use www.safalab.com/product/soul/ or www.myrainlife.com/safalab
2) Vitamin C: 1000 mg 3/day up to bowel tolerance 1 gram every hour while awake (Note: the adrenals need ascorbic acid to produce cortisol and vitamin C is an anti-histamine.)
3) Adrenal support (sea salt, licorice, DHEA, natural cortisol)
Brief Review of peer-reviewed scientific literature
Natural Honey lowers Plasma Glucose, C-reactive Protein, Homocysteine, and Blood Lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with Dextrose and Sucrose.
Author: Al-Waili NS J. Med Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):100-7.
Topical Honey Application vs. Acyclovir for the Treatment of Recurrent Herpes Simplex Lesions.
Med Sci Monit, 2004; 10 (8) Al Waili, N.S. Dubai UAE
“Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the use of honey.”
For labial herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 35%, 39%, 28% and 43% better, respectively, than with acyclovir treatment.
For genital herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 53%, 50%, 49% and 59% better, respectively than with acyclovir treatment.
“Topical honey application is safe and effective in the management of the signs and symptoms of recurrent lesions from labial and genital herpes.”
Why does your doctor not recommend raw honey for herpes? Consider the comparative costs
Acyclovir $3,810.00 / pound
Raw Honey $15.00 / pound
Honey May Prevent Recurring Tumors
Dr. Ismail Hamzaoglu Istanbul University Dec 2004, Archives of Surgery.
In this study, the incidence of metastatic disease was reduced if the cancer site was packed with raw honey after surgery. A Mayo Clinic cancer expert said the results, though preliminary, are “too fascinating to be dismissed.”
(Update: these results have been dismissed nonetheless!)
Dr. Weeks closed with quoting from the Finnish Creation Myth “The Kalavala”, Rune 15
“Lemminkainen at Tuonela River”
The mother Goddess creator of the world has a medical problem. She seeks the dead body of her son named Lemminkainen (Finland’s equivalent to Thor) in the river Tuonela where he has perished. She creates a huge iron rake to drag the depths of this mighty river and collects the dismembered pieces of her waterlogged son.
Who ya gonna call?
She calls for the honeybee to…
“Go forth and fetch me honey, go forth to seek for honey, back from Metsola’s fair meadows,
from the cup of many a flower, and the plumes of grasses many, as an ointment for the patient,
and to quite restore the sick one. Then did Lemminkainen’s mother raise it to her mouth and taste it. With her tongue the ointment tasted, With the greatest care she proved it. Tis the ointment that I needed, and the salve of the Almighty, used when Jumula the Highest,
The Creator heals all suffering”.
“Hi Dr. Weeks:
I am not sure you remember you performed bee sting therapy to my right knee in early 1999. I know you see a lot of people. It was very arthritic and painful and had been for years. Since that ONE TREATMENT, I have had no problem with the knee!
I am writing you now because of my mother and her pains. My mother suffers back pains and a physician has recommended back surgery. She is open to bee sting therapy. Keep up the courageous work. We depend upon innovators like you!
An Arthritis Cure with BVT and the Politics of the Arthritis Foundation
Dear Dr. Weeks,
I read an article in the May 12, 1992 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. It was concerning whether Bee Venom could cure arthritis or not.
“Will bee venom cure arthritis? Give us a buzz. Before you recommend an unproven remedy for arthritis to a friend or family, care enough to find out more.”
“There was a telephone number: 1-800 -283-7800, so I gave them a call. They didn’t know anything about bee venom therapy, but I received some booklets and then three or four days ago, the outfit called me and wanted a donation of $40 or $45 for research. I explained that me and my wife were on social security, so they asked for $20 for a membership.”
“I told them that I already belonged to your International American Apitherapy Society.
I told them that I am a beekeeper and that I use BVT to cure arthritis – mine and many others too.”
“I told them that I used to have arthritis in my knees and wrists, but now I can do whatever I want to do because of BVT – free of cost because I now own the bees I use.”
“I gave them your address and encouraged them to contact you because you and Charlie Mraz have been helping people for already 58 years now.
Keep up the great work!
Its the Real Sting!
Dr. Weeks then, as a postscript, offered further esoteric thoughts for our “heart-warmed” consideration by Dr. Rudolf Steiner author of Nine Lectures on Bees (1919)
1) “Poisons are gatherers of what is spiritual; for this reason they are healing remedies.”
2) “The remarkable thing is this; that substances that can make a man ill or even kill him, can also cure him. This is one of the great responsibilities one has in the preparation of medicines, for there are no real remedies which, if wrongly applied, cannot cause the same illnesses which they can also cure.”
3) “I told you that these creatures all have a poisonous substance within them and that this poisonous substance, if given in the right dose, is an excellent remedy. Bee venom is an excellent remedy”.
4) “The ego-organization works directly in the circulation of the blood. Now it is actually the case that his ego-organization is in a mysterious way present in the poison of the bee; it is a similar force to the force that circulates in your blood that is present in the bee venom”.
With a Thank you and Bee Well! Dr. Weeks closed and gave the following resources for more information:
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or search “apitherapy” or “venom” or “honey” etc. at www.weeksmd.com