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  1. #1

    Default Lyme Disease and apitherapy- lots of studies

    I reprinted this from a website by herbalist Stephen Buhner. His book Healing Lyme discusses a lot of the science behind apitherapy in treatment of Lyme Disease (he recommends using herbs instead since most folks dont want beestings, but still has high marks for it). The following was to be an appendix to the book as he says.

    I'm really interested in the venom extraction process that he describes which involves mild electrical shock to bees. ANyone know more about the device he's describing?

    by the way, it was difficult to give a direct link to the web site because the original site uses frames and is mostly about something completely unrelated to the book (ie New Age type spiritual stuff, not medicine)



    Apis and Bi-edta in the treatment of Lyme disease - article
    By Stephen Harrod Buhner

    Copyright © 2005 Stephen Harrod Buhner

    This article was originally intended to be included in my book on Lyme disease:
    Healing Lyme, as an appendix. Due to space considerations, it was deleted and is published here for those who are interested.
    As research into borrelia treatment continues, increasing numbers of natural substances will be tested for activity against the organism and, over time, more potent herbal and natural treatments will be discovered. To date there are two substances other than antibiotics that have been tested and are active against Lyme borrelia organisms: melittin from bee venom, also known as apis, and BI-EDTA (bismuth). This is a brief look at their actions and potential uses.
    Both of these substances are hard to find, both have potentially serious side effects if used inappropriately, nevertheless both, especially apis, have been used effectively in clinical practice. Apis has the longest tradition of use and in spite of nervousness about its use among both herbalists and physicians, historical and contemporary clinical outcomes with apis are excellent and side effects extremely uncommon. Please read the side effects section carefully.

    Source: Bee venom
    Chemical constituents: 40-50% of bee venom is melittin. Bee venom also contains a number of other compounds: apamin, mast-cell degranulation peptide 401, secarpin, tertiapin, adolapin, protease inhibitors, provamine A and B, minimine, cariopep, phospholipase A2, hualuronidase, acid phosphomonoesterase, glucosidase, lysophospholipase, histamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, leutotriens, glucose, fructose, numerous phospholipids, r-aminobutyric acid, B-aminosobutyric acid. Medicinal actions: Melittin is powerfully antibacterial, more potent than many commercial pharmaceuticals, and is anti-inflammatory. It stimulates the hypophyseal-adrenal system and produces cortisone. Melittin also stabilizes the lysosome cell membrane, protecting against inflammation.
    Apimin is a mood elevator and anti-inflammatory. It works like melittin to produce cortisone and inhibits the part of the complement system (C3) which is involved in inflammation.
    Mast cell degranulating peptide (MDC peptide or peptide 401) is an astonishingly potent anti-inflammatory, 100 times more effective than hydrocortisone in reducing inflammation. It blocks arachidonic acid production and inhibits prostaglandin synthesis. Adolphin is both an anti-inflammatory and pain killer. It inhibits microsomal cyclooxygenase and is 70 times stronger than indomethacin. Adolphin also inhibits platelet lipoxygenase - and thromboxane and prostacycline which are activated during inflammation.
    The protease inhibitors in venom inhibit carrageenin, prostaglandin E1, bradykin, and histamine induced inflammations. They also inhibit chymotrypsin and leucine-aminopeptidase.
    Bee venom is a potent antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, and possesses radioprotectant actions. It has been found to exert powerful actions as an antibacterial agent, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antirheumatic, in neurodegenerative disease, as a cardiotonic, an antioxidant, and as a diaphoretic and diuretic. It has also been found to be a strong immunological agent, stimulating the body's protective mechanisms against disease. The Eclectic Botanical physicians considered it to be a potent alterative.
    An alterative - smilax is one - is generally considered a tonic herb or substance that gradually restores proper function to the body. Historically, the term generally referred to herbs that could cleanse the blood, basically bind- endotoxins, reduce blood toxicity, infections, and skin problems. They gradually alter (hence the name alterative) a pathological condition and restore normal function and capacity.
    Current uses in Asia and Europe are primarily focused on the treatment of rheumatic conditions, arthritis, gout, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Some newer research shows that melittin has a powerful capacity to shrink tumors. History of Apis: Bee venom has at least a 3000 year history of use in China and nearly that long in Japan and Korea. The Romans used it as a powerful pain killer and the ancient Greeks used it as well. It is an integrated element of medical treatment today in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania), in certain Western European countries (Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France), and is growing in use in South America. It was a regular part of American medical practice, primarily homeopathic and Eclectic Botanical practice from 1847 until World War II. It is still commonly used by homeopaths. In Eclectic Botanical practice a tincture of Apis, taken orally, was used.
    The Eclectics used it primarily for healing diseases of the urinary tract, especially when there was a desire to urinate but an inability to do so. A list of conditions for which they used it are: suppression of urine, urethral and cystic irritation, especially with tenesmus; chronic nephritis; cystitis; menorrhagia; amenorrhea; leucorrhea; genital puffiness; labial inflammation; sore throats; dropsy; traumatic injuries of the subcutaneous tissues; rheumatism; subcutaneous inflammations. Dry, hot, red conditions, inflammation of the skin, internal organs, or brain and central nervous system. In general hot, red, or puffy conditions, especially of the mucous membranes and disorders of the urinary tract.
    Apis entered the American pharmacopoeia in 1847 through a member of the
    Narragansett tribe, "a woman strolling by" as the original source puts it. She suggested its use in the treatment of a 12-year-old boy who had been suffering for some time with a degenerative condition and for which nothing seemed to work. The indigenous peoples of the Americas had a long history of the use of bee stings in healing.
    Collection: Originally the whole bee was used, often placed in a closed container which was shaken to "excite their anger." They were then macerated in alcohol and a tincture made for medical use. Nowadays collection is much more benign and controlled.
    Last edited by girl Mark; 05-17-2007 at 10:50 PM.
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  2. #2

    Default more of the article

    Venom collection is best when there is a good nectar flow and the temperature is warm. The collecting device is a wire grid which the bees touch when entering the hive. A mild current flows through the grid which stimulates them to release venom. The bees are not killed in this process as they are in actual bee sting therapies or in the older processes of making Apis. The electric current induces spasms that stimulate the bees to deposit venom onto a collection plate. The venom is allowed to dry and then scraped off. It takes the veno from about 9,000 bees for one gram of dried bee venom.
    The venom is generally found in two forms: a rougher, brownish powder that is unpurified and a more purified form that has undergone some processing after collection. Usually it is this latter form that is used in bee venom therapy. Some liquid forms, prepared from the purified powder, are also available. Normally they are used by physicians when preparing injectable forms of apis. About apis and Lyme disease: Interest in the use of bee venom for the treatment of Lyme disease has been stimulated by two things: 1) the finding that melittin is a potent antimicrobial for the Lyme spirochete; and 2) numerous practitioners have found it helpful in treating Lyme, the symptoms of Lyme, and conditions similar to Lyme disease such as multiple sclerosis.
    Scientific studies: There are hundreds of studies on the use of Apis. These are composed of in vitro and in vivo studies, clinical trials, and clinical reports from practitioners in its use for various disease conditions. Most of the studies are being conducted in Eastern Europe and Asia (primarily China). The two best sources for these are a PubMed or Medline search and the listing maintained by the American Apitherapy Society (AAS). The AAS has over 12,000 case reports of the use of Apis on file in addition to their many study listings. One source for many of those listings is maintained (as of 1/1/05) at the following web address:
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  3. #3

    Default and the rest of it

    Tests of melittin's inhibitory actions against Lyme organisms were carried out at the U.S. government's Rocky Mountain Laboratories Microscopy Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, Montana. The abstract overview is worth quoting in full:
    "Borrelia burgdorferi has demonstrated a capacity to resist the in
    vitro effects of powerful eukaryotic and prokaryotic metabolic
    inhibitors. However, treatment of laboratory cultures on Narbour-
    Stoenner, Kelly medium with melittin, a 26-amino acid peptide
    contained in honeybee venom, showed immediate and profound
    inhibitory effects when they were monitored by dark-field microscopy
    and optical density measurements. Furthermore, at melittin
    concentrations as low as 100 microg/mL, virtually all spirochete
    motility ceased within seconds of inhibitor addition.
    Ultrastructural examination of these spirochetes by scanning
    electron microscopy revealed obvious alterations in the surface
    envelope of the spirochetes. The extraordinary sensitivity of B.
    burgdorferi to melittin may provide both a research reagent useful
    in the study of selective permeability in microorganisms and
    important clues to the development of effective new drugs against
    Lyme disease. (Lubke LL and Garon CF. The antimicrobial agent
    melittin exhibits powerful in vitro inhibitory effects on the Lyme
    disease spirochete. Clin Infect Dis 1997 Jul; 25 Suppl 1:S48-51.)"

    Apis (intramuscular injection) was used in a 12 month clinical trial (2000) of people with multiple sclerosis. It was found that Apis is effective in decreasing the functional debilitation caused by the disease. A ROSS survey, using Friedman nonparametric statistical analysis, found significant improvements in balance, coordination, bladder and bowel control, upper- and lower-extremity strength, fatigue, endurance, spasticity, and numbness. The "Activities of Daily Living" or ADL score improved significantly. Statistically significant improvements were seen in walking, stair climbing, car transfers, bed transfers, toilet transfers, bathtub transfers, and bed positioning. Sixty-eight percent of the people enrolled in the study experienced benefits from the use of Apis injections.
    In 1992, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of injectable Apis in the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation was conducted with 180 people. They were injected (IM) 2x weekly for 6 weeks. Significant post treatment reductions were seen in pain and inflammation. These reductions were still evident after 6 months.
    A 1973 study of 326 people suffering from degenerative spinal conditions received bee venom cream using ultrasound. following treatment 60% reported being pain free, 30% said their pain had decreased.
    A 1938 trial with 100 people suffering from arthritis found that after small dose injections of Apis 73% showed significant improvement in symptoms. Russian trials in the treatment of spondyloarthritis deformans with bee venom showed similar results.
    A 1966 trial in the use of standardized bee venom for the treatment of arthritis found that 84% of 50 people benefitted.
    A 1996 randomized trial of 101 people examined the efficacy of Apis injection in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Three different dosing regimens were compared with each other and to the non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug Nabumetone. All the participants suffered from degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee or spine or both. The researchers found that apis was significantly effective in treating osteoarthritis and in the reduction of symptoms.
    Numerous recent trials in China (e.g. Kwon, 2001) have found that bee venom (BV) acupuncture is exceptionally safe and effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis. A 4 week comparison trial with 60 people of the effectiveness of BV acupuncture versus traditional acupuncture found that bee venom acupuncture produced even more pain relief than acupuncture alone. Both were found effective. 82.5% of BV acupuncture patients rated the effectiveness of their treatment as either excellent or good. All patients reported pain relief and they improved significantly in a number of areas including infrared thermograph (IRT) readings; 18 of 26 patients' IRTs were normal after treatment.
    A 1982 German trial in the treatment of 211 people with mesenchymal diseases of the locomotor system found bee venom to be effective.
    There have been scores of in vivo studies on the actions of Apis, primarily in China and Korea. There are a number of mechanisms of action. Researchers have found that apis:
    1) inhibits inflammation mediator generation by suppression of NF-kB
    (similarly to resveratrol).
    2) alleviates thermal hyperalgesia through activating alpha2-drenoreceptors.
    3) increases Fos expression in catecholaminergic neurons.
    4) attenuates formalin-induced pain behavior and sinal cord fos expression.
    5) reverses lipopolysaccharide-induced upregulation of such genes as IL-6
    receptor, matrix metalloproteinase 15, tumor necrosis factor (ligand)
    superfamily-10, capase-6, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1.
    6) inhibits COX-2 activity and proinflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-1beta.
    7) binds to secretory phospholipase A2 and inhibits its enzymatic activity.
    8) modulates alpha 1-acid glycoprotein gene induction.
    9) blocks neutrophil O2 production.
    10) directly affects the production of IL-1 by macrophages, indirectly inhibits T and B
    cell activation.
    11) is effective (as numerous in vivo studies have found) in the treatment of various
    forms of arthritis, including type II, collagen-induced.
    Dosage: Tincture: 1-5 drops of a 1:5 tincture preparation; 5-20 drops of a 1:20 preparation, see "obtaining tincture of apis," below. Please see side effects.
    NOTE: tincture of apis should be taken sublingually. That is, you should let it dissolve through the mucous membranes of the mouth. This allows it to flow directly into the blood stream without going through the stomach.
    Apis does act systemically on the whole system and will pass the blood/brain barrier to act in the central nervous system. It is, however, excreted through the kidneys and it does stimulate urination as a result which is why the Eclectics found it of such benefit as a diuretic.
    While Lyme spirochetes do locate in many regions of the body, one location they tend to cluster is the kidneys, though there have not been reports of kidney disease from the organism. The funneling of apis to the kidneys will also have a direct effect on spirochete clustering at that location.
    Klinghardt (see "injectable") reports that injections of apis do act systemically in Lyme disease but that greater immediate effects on the alleviation of arthritic conditions occur when the injections are given at those locations, usually the knees.
    Injectable: The primary physician using apis for Lyme disease is Dietrich Klinghardt. His article "The Treatment of Lyme Disease with Bee Venom" is available online
    (as of 1/1/05): Klinghardt goes into explicit detail on his preparation, dosages, and uses of injectable apis in the article.
    Generally, patients take the injections 1-3x weekly for 6-12 months. Because of the way the injections are given, there is little pain. Initial reactions are stronger during early injections than the later ones after physiological adjustment to the bee venom has occurred. Klinghardt reports NO negative reactions (i.e. severe allergic reactions) to injections in 20 years of practice. This matches the reports of East European, Asian, and Russian physicians.
    Safety: Apis is exceptionally safe. There are NO reports in the literature on adverse side effects of the tincture or of the injections. The Eclectics were quite good with pointing out potential side effects - there are no reports over a 50 year period of side effects in their use of the tincture. Nor does extensive literature searches show any side effects from the injections (other than transient local irritation, swelling, and itching). Nor does an extensive review of Asian literature including traditional Chinese and Korean medical use show anything other than that apis is very safe for use as a medicinal. Nevertheless, see "side effects."
    Side effects: Every year a few people die from allergic reactions to bee stings - the percentage is very small. (Most sting deaths are from wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets which possess a much stronger venom.) Nevertheless, the use of apis must take this into account. APIS SHOULD NOT BE USED WITH ANYONE WITH A HISTORY OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO BEE STINGS. An Anakit or Epipen or other medically approved "bee-sting" kit should be on hand for the use apis and within immediate reach. The most common serious reaction to bee stings is airway constriction, these kits are made to deal with such severe side effects. ANYONE TAKING APIS TINCTURE SHOULD TEST TAKE ONE DROP OF THE TINCTURE TO DETERMINE NEGATIVE REACTIONS - AN ANAKIT OR EPIPEN SHOULD BE ON HAND. Testing for bee stingsensitivity with an allergist is also an excellent option if you desire to use this tincture in a treatment protocol.
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  4. #4


    here's the very end of the article:

    Normally, when someone is using apis, as the body adjusts, larger doses may be taken. Beekeepers can withstand significant amounts of bee venom without adverse effects.
    Contraindications: Apis can stimulate miscarriage. NOT to be used in pregnancy. Obtaining tincture of apis: Tincture of apis is not commercially available. The old eclectic formulation - a 1:5 formulation - is no longer legal in the United States. Homeopathic mother tinctures were originally 1:5, in 1920 this ratio changed to 1:10 and is now 1:20. This is a legal over the counter (OTC) preparation in the U.S. Dosage can be adjusted from the 1:5 preparations by multiplying by 4. In other words, if the original eclectic dosage was 1-5 drops, dosage with a 1:20 mother tincture would be 4-20 drops.
    Homeopathic mother tinctures are commercially available can be purchased through homeopathic supply companies. Normally a physician or other licensed practitioner must order it. For homeopathic use: see the chapter in Healing Lyme on preventing Lyme.
    Last edited by girl Mark; 05-17-2007 at 10:49 PM. Reason: added author to reduce confusion
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  5. #5


    Well, since posting this I found the link to the venom collector device he's talking about:

    Sure sounds better than 'exciting their anger' (in case that's not clear from the article, that's a quote from a 19th century historical document on producing venom)
    Last edited by girl Mark; 05-18-2007 at 04:57 AM.
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Farmington, North Carolina


    That was long but worth reading. My husband was just asking me about BVT and Lyme Disease. He works with someone who has a friend with Lyme Disease who is suffering with chronic pain from this disease. I was supposed to try to find information on this subject today. Very timely!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Perkasie, PA


    If I were given a definitive diagnosis of Lyme disease by a licensed physician, then 1 month of high dose doxycycline would be my preferred treatment. The immune system is complex and misunderstood, but antibiotics really do work and should be used for Lyme disease.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Farmington, North Carolina


    Quote Originally Posted by Aspera View Post
    If I were given a definitive diagnosis of Lyme disease by a licensed physician, then 1 month of high dose doxycycline would be my preferred treatment. The immune system is complex and misunderstood, but antibiotics really do work and should be used for Lyme disease.
    That is the first course of action, true. But the person I was referring to has been treated multiple times and over a year later is still suffering. I'm sure you know that there are many antibiotic resistant strains of diseases being discovered. Diseases that once had simple answers are sometimes becoming more complicated.


  9. #9


    Yes, antibiotics are a first course of action, but they often dont' work, especially if only one month is given and the patient is already ill (usually a month stops an infection from becoming chronic if you catch it very early). It's not so much that Lyme is antibiotic resistant, but more that it's a master at hiding from the immune system and hiding from antibiotics in things like the brain and joints, which most antibiotics can't get to. Venom sounds like it crosses the blood-brain barrier which is important for some Lyme manifestations. Of course some people get arthritis from Lyme and we all know that venom stings help that.

    I caught my Lyme within a month of so of the tickbite (I had the tick but got bad advice from a doctor about it)- and got 4 weeks, then 6 weeks, then another 6 weeks of antibiotics (with unfortunate breaks in between because 4-6 weeks is all the doctors would prescribe at the time) without being able to get rid of it. The result was that I got chronic Lyme that incapacitated me for several years.

    Eventually I got 6 months of antibiotics and 6 months of herbs and that's finally got it under control. (the herbs Buhner recommends contain active ingredients that cross the blood-brain barrier)

    I'd never suggest that someone just rely on venom alone to deal with it, but if you want to maximize your chances during other treatment it seems that a few people have had success with it (I'm talking to other chronic Lyme patients via for instance and a few have tried it). I don't get the impression that there's a problem with combining apitherapy and antibiotics for this- I know at least one person online who did both for his chronic Lyme.

    Buhner's book on Lyme also discusses using homeopathic venom as one part of a multipart emergency protocol (most of which is herbal and has no side effects for most people) if you get freshly tickbit.

    And, since it's spring and the ticks are out again:

    If you get bit by a 'deer' tick (Ixodes or Western blacklegged ticks depending on the part of the country) you won't know right away if you could have exposure to Lyme, and tests of the tick itself often come back negative (and the human can't be tested till it's too late as the antibodies don't form for several weeks). Anyway as people who live in the suburbs and the country know, you can be tickbit several times a year and most folks wont' go running to doxycycline for that especially because it causes nausea side effects.

    Buhner's recommendations on the user of some very potent herbs and bee venom as part of 'emergency prophylaxis' if you get tickbit, are more likely to be accepted by some people who woudn't go to the doctor every time they find a tick on them.
    Last edited by girl Mark; 05-18-2007 at 07:09 PM.
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  10. #10


    anyway, one more offtopic post about antibiotics from me:

    treatment guidelines from the Lyme-literate doctors (differs widely from the Centers for Disease control surveillance guidelines and other info on the CDC site): (pdf file)

    briefer listing of treatment guidelines for early infection:

    preventing tick bites and dealing with tick risks in general:

    there's a lot more there, Dr Burrascano is very respected in this field.:
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Erie, PA


    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau


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