Snake venom and Bee Sting to Improve Immunity !

Most of the people think that snake venom and Bee Sting contain poison which can harm humans to a great extent. In our last article we put some light on the fact that even cobra venom, which is considered as a neurotoxic poison of highest grade is non-lethal if taken orally. Today several medicines are being made using snake venom, scorpion venom and bee sting. A number of people are known around the world who take small dosage of these venom to create an immunity against them. But does drinking or injecting small doses of these venom really improve overall immunity or just immunity against that particular venom.

  • Mithridatism is an old practice used before 100BC in which a person ingests poison in small amounts to build immunity against it. It name originated from King Mithridates VI, who practiced this phenomena to protect himself from poison.
  • Similarly in India around 300BC King Chandragupta Maurya was made immune to poison by his chief advisor Chanakya, as he was fearful that enemies may try to poison him. This concept was known as "Vish-Purush" (Poison Man) in India.
  • This phenomena is widely used in some Novels, TV series and Movies, to make a hero or villain immune to poison.

Before anybody start practicing it on himself, he/she must know that this technique is not applicable on all types of poison. Some poison can accumulate in body and then harm you when sufficient quantity has been accumulated. However our liver can create certain enzymes to digest a poison when small doses are ingested and ultimately full immunity will be developed, but that immunity won't work on other types of poison.

But when we talk about Snake venom and bee sting, the case is different. At Stanford University School of Medicine researcher's gave non lethal doses of honey-bee sting venom to mice, which caused an allergic reaction and produced some antibodies in their blood. The antibodies protected the mice when they were again given a lethal dose of same venom [2]. Human beings have gone through a long process of evolution, and most probably we also have capability to develop immunity by using this technique.

A report was published on CNN in Dec 2016, where a man named Steve Ludwin was injecting snake venom in his body for past 30 years with his own belief of improving immunity. Today he is more than 50, but looks like 35. Researchers at University of Copenhagen are using his blood thrice a year to develop antivenom [1] , just like horses are used to develop antivenom by injecting venom in their blood and then extracting antibodies from their blood.

Tim Friede, an American former factory worker claimed that he has developed immunity to the deadliest snakes cobra and black mamba. According to him he was bitten by snakes around 100 times and it acted as an immunization to develop immunity against any type of snake venom. Mr Friede calls it "venom immunotherapy".[3]

All of the above examples prove that immunity can be developed against venom by injecting controlled doses, but it may not happen with everybody. Every year more than 125,000 people die due to snake bites and more than 300,000 get some part of their body surgically removed to save themselves from death. So never try such experiments on yourself. Let researchers do their best to develop some technique to save these lives.


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