The Sting of Healing: The Science and Secrets of Bee Venom Therapy with Kate Hinkens
Ep 31

The Sting of Healing: The Science and Secrets of Bee Venom Therapy with Kate Hinkens

Show Notes:

Inside the fascinating world of apitherapy, I sat down with Kate Hinkens, bee venom therapist, educator, and the founder of Stinglab, to learn how she healed a debilitating condition with Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) and to explore bee venom’s (apitoxin) healing properties as part of the body’s regenerative cycle. 

Kate is an expert in the field, dedicated to the research and therapeutic application of BVT. In our conversation, Kate shares how BVT cured her of Lyme disease through its inflammatory healing properties. She illustrates the specific compounds found in BVT, the application process, and its ability to kill bacteria and viruses found in the body. We discuss the social structure of a bee hive and the relationship between worker bees, queen bees, and the external world.

We also explore how BVT specifically impacts bees. Kate details the balance between bees and beekeepers and the interconnectedness of BVT and death. Empathy and reverence can exist at the same time. Finally, Kate shares a fascinating story about fungi and bees’ ancient relationship and highlights ways for newly diagnosed individuals to train the nervous system and aid the body’s inflammatory response. 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Topics Covered:

  • Various uses for bee venom therapy (BVT)
  • How Kate found BVT and healed herself 
  • Why integrity and trust are crucial for healing
  • The BVT application process
  • The social structure of a bee hive 
  • How BVT affects bees’ livelihood 
  • The connection and history of mushrooms and bees

Resources Mentioned:

Guest Info: 

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Show Transcript:

Tonya Papanikolov  00:04

Hi, welcome to the Rainbo podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in route and expand and journey with us. 


Tonya Papanikolov  00:46

Hi, Friends, welcome back to another episode, we are buzzing haha into a really cool episode and into the fascinating world of apitherapy. And specifically looking at the healing properties of bee venom therapy, which is just so mind blowing and fascinating. And of course, we know that bees honey bees are just incredible forces of nature on this planet. And for centuries, bee venom has been this very unique elixir that's often been overshadowed by the more famous honey, and propolis and jelly, royal jelly, and pollen. And yet it holds some very big secrets that we're now only beginning to unlock with modern science kind of coming to understand it as well. But it is a really ancient remedy, and a natural remedy. bee venom therapy is known as Abby toxin. And it's this complex mixture of enzymes peptides and means, which have been shown to possess these really incredible anti inflammatory, anti arthritis, and pain relieving properties. 


Tonya Papanikolov  02:03

So in this episode, I am chatting with Kate Hankins, who is a new friend and just an incredible woman who shares her story with how she healed her Lyme through bee venom therapy. And it is an incredibly inspiring story. And Kate now guides, she's a bee venom therapist. And I know she's just beginning to take care and kind of keep some bees of her own as well and does research and is just an incredible researcher and educator in this field, and guide some clients. She's based in Southern California, and I just love following and learning from her her content online. And bee venom therapy isn't just for Lyme disease, it can also treat a wide range of other conditions that have inflammation at its core process, which is of course, the majority of chronic health that we face in this modern world, even in therapy can also be used for gi inflammation, Crohn's disease, decreasing food sensitivities, assisting in blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, decreasing the symptoms of pots and decreasing the duration of long lasting viral illnesses. improving mental clarity, arthritis, skin conditions, there's really a lot that this potent medicine and elixir can do. And it is really the way that this bee venom influences the immune system, and how regenerative that process is for the body. 


Tonya Papanikolov  03:45

So we're gonna dive into this really cool ancient remedy in this episode, and I just want to say thank you to the bees because they do not stop delivering they are so hardworking. Kate shares some really beautiful, interesting, like just fascinating information about honeybees in this episode. And we're just so grateful to be able to be blessed by these amazing, hardworking, incredible creatures that do so much for us as humans and give us their medicine and pollinate our food and just continue to be such incredible forces of nature. So shout out to the honey bees. And let's dive into this really cool episode. I know you're gonna learn a lot in it, and from it, and let's do it. Hi, Kate. So, so lovely to be with you today. It's like I feel like yeah, we already somewhat know each other, which is a blessing because of the internet and yeah, just feeling connected to your journey and story and so, so excited to be with you today.


Kate Hinkens  04:57

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.


Tonya Papanikolov  04:59

I I'd love to start every episode with asking the guest what they're grateful for today.


Kate Hinkens  05:05

So I do this every morning. And it's my rule with myself that before I open my eyes, I have two or three things that I'm super good for. And today, actually, one of the ones that came up was around breathwork. Because I think it's so amazing that we have the power to shift our, like mental state with a physical practice. And I think when I wake up feeling off for like, I woke up this morning too early. And I was like, I'm annoyed, you know, because I want Oh, wow, how amazing that I like have all these tools at my disposal, we're so lucky to live in a time where we know about all these things. So I feel very grateful for that. So


Tonya Papanikolov  05:51

beautiful. Thank you for sharing, I will share to the what I feel grateful for is I was chatting with Simon, my partner last night, we're apart from one another right now. And I feel grateful to be aware of the fact that I need to slow down. And so it's December and like in this, I feel that there's there's been it's been there's been so much that's happened in this fall season for me personally and in my business. And I feel this like deep urge in my body to like rest and take a couple steps back in order to kind of move forward at an accelerated pace. And in that there's like the whole mental thing for me anyways of like, no faster, more, like, keep going. And I can like hear that voice and just say like, Hey, it's okay. Like, just, it's your time to chill and relax. And I just feel grateful for the awareness to be able to recognize that is what I was sharing with him last night and, and kind of been reflecting on. I love that. Do


Kate Hinkens  06:53

you feel like always intuitively been good at that? Like knowing when to slow down? Or has it been a learned thing for you?


Tonya Papanikolov  07:00

Definitely. I mean, I think with like, yeah, self awareness as that has slowly expanded further and further in the process of life. Like, it's just been a while. And part of what we're going to talk about today is like, I think one of the beautiful gifts that chronic conditions might leave you with is this like weather, sometimes it's maybe hyper vigilance. Other times, it's like this intuitive, extreme inner knowing of your body and its needs. And I have pushed that so many times and not listened, that I know what that leads to. And so I think in that has been the like push and pull of like, understanding when to just like, let go of the reins a bit and take some time to like, acknowledge the kind of like, yeah, the fast paced society that we live in. And this like, I have this like, yeah, internal drive to keep doing more and more things. And it's just like, oh, whoa, like, why, but why?


Kate Hinkens  07:55

Right. Yeah, I mean, in part, it's coming from like, your deep sense of purpose, which is so clear. But then also, there's that like, added layer, sometimes that totally


Tonya Papanikolov  08:07

learn. Totally. Okay, well, I'm so thrilled to kind of be diving into this is probably Yeah, my I've had some chats about BBT with friends, as I was mentioning to you, but haven't really haven't had a podcast episode on it, and really taking the time to dive into it as much as I'd like to with you today. So why don't you tell us a bit about your journey? And how did you find b Venom therapy can even start with like, briefly what is it because I know a lot of people aren't familiar. But how long in your journey? Did it take until you found it? And what has that journey looked like for you?


Kate Hinkens  08:44

The venom therapy is actually exactly what it sounds yourself. Really, with live bees. One of the primary things that treats is Lyme disease. And that is what I use it for. And I healed myself completely from Lyme disease using the venom therapy over the course of about a year and a half. And it completely changed my life. So I first got sick actually, when I was quite young, I grew up in the Midwest in Minnesota, and was up at a cabin every week. And of course, bitten by ticks. But I got very, very ill when I was seven. So I was hospitalized on and off for about a year when I was seven. And it was misdiagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. And then they thought I had some rare form of blood cancer. And they were I didn't know because the Lyme testing at that point had not been developed in the same way it is now it was just very basic western blot test, which is different than now. And so I was sick for about a year and then just got better. It went into remission and I was fine until the age of I think I was 15 when I came back. I missed an entire my junior year of high school. I was so weak I could barely walk like I was in constant joy. might pain and I had migraines all the time. And the brain fog was terrible, you know, where I wouldn't remember people's names that I knew and loved dearly and would start dense and don't know how to finish it. And you know, it was really an intense time. But once again, nobody diagnose me correctly. I once again got better using natural modalities, I was doing a lot of acupuncture. And at that time, I was also starting teaching yoga. And I was, you know, like, into all of the wellness things already, and into remission. And then


Tonya Papanikolov  10:32

is that because you were looking for answers of things that would help you? Or were you? What did you set how you discovered yoga or acupuncture, things like that?


Kate Hinkens  10:41

I think being sick, as young as I was just instilled this def deep understand that, like, if we don't have this, we have nothing. So from a very early age, I understood that your health had to be the most important thing. And so I think it gave me like a real sense of gratitude and reverence for like, attending to Yeah, yeah, totally. And I, that's, I think, what led me on my journey of like interest in wellness and yoga and all of that, I got healthy again. And then, about a year after I graduated college, I started getting sick again, and I got sicker and sicker over the course of a


Tonya Papanikolov  11:22

couple of years. So like, do you attribute in those moments, the moments of getting sick? Was there a stressful event, emotions, hormones, like anything that you can, that you look back and be like, Oh, maybe that's what triggered it.


Kate Hinkens  11:35

Yeah, and it's so interesting to do this. Because now that I work with clients to helping them on their journeys, it really is like a very clear pattern that tends to happen. And it's not one thing specifically necessarily, but it's like a time marked by stress, emotional turmoil, and like a changing of sense of self in some way, like a change in your relationship to the world around you. So when I was seven, it was about a year before I got very sick, my brother fractured a growth plate in his leg and was told he would never walk ago. So it was this. I think it puts so much stress on my family, which of course, as a little kid, you feel so deeply but have no way of talking about and my brother is now fine. But it is so interesting that like these events definitely trigger things. Then once I was I was sick again. And it just kept getting worse to the point that I couldn't even work anymore. Like I had to leave my job to like I was I was sleeping 18 plus hours a day, and I would walk like 10 feet and have to sit down because I was so dizzy, and it was really bad. And finally, she was a naturopathic MD So she was both has the naturopathic side and the medical doctor. And she finally was like, Okay, we need to, we need to figure this out. And luckily, we got the Lyme diagnosis.


Tonya Papanikolov  13:00

Wow. Okay, so so many people that I know who have been diagnosed with Lyme, it's like, it's like a 15 year journey of healing. And part of that's because they don't have the diagnosis. But then also, you're kind of like, building I feel, like trying so many different things in the process. But do you think like, is there the ability that you know, have to kind of have the diagnosis and heal within a shorter timeframe? Or is the nature of the kind of progression of that just long or, you know, I don't and I don't like to speak in absolutes, because I don't I just know that like anything is possible. And it really depends on the person, but anything that you can speak to on that?


Kate Hinkens  13:39

Absolutely, I think 100% It's possible to heal more quickly, we firstly need to understand that every single organ and body part has its own rate of regeneration, we all know this. And so we have to trust in the cycles of our regeneration, right? So like, can't outdo your biology, but you can make it as efficient as possible. And the amazing amazing thing is that when you have the right kind of you know, emotional mental support, understand and feel a sense of power around and responsibility for your own health and feel involved in your treatment, you are able to and I've seen people literally feel a difference using the venom therapy within two to three weeks, which I experienced was as well and it's it's just incredible, like how quickly things can change when there's actual alignment. But also I want to acknowledge that of course like this was also years of me doing health oriented things and iron Vedic is and you know, Chinese medicine and everything so is a pain but healing can happen quickly. Yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  14:47

I believe that too. Yeah. So from that point to actually finding the bees or the bees finding you How did that kind of progress.


Kate Hinkens  14:56

So I went out at heart I was like, I will try this Literally everything because at this point, I was so done being sick, I was so sick of the life that had fallen apart in front of me. So I went very hard and saw a top line specialist and was doing four times a week I was going in to get antibiotic intravenously, I was getting stem cells and ozone and hyperbaric, and, you know, doing all of the detox modalities and sauna and whatever. And I was on, I think there was probably like, 30, or 40 different medications. I also tried a bunch of herbal protocols and, you know, different things from naturopaths. And nothing worked. And I just kept getting sicker and sicker. And it made symptoms worse, and not in a detoxing way. It just made me sicker. And so I try and I did a 12 day water fast. I did, you know, trying to every imaginable version of diet and detox. But I remember so clearly the day that I decided I was done. And I woke up, and I was throwing up violently, like a habit a few days at that point, because of the medications that the doctor had given me, and made me so ill that all of the blood vessels in my face had pumped and so like my whole face and neck was just like speckled red, my eyes were red, like, it was awful. And I looked in the mirror, and I was like this, this can't be it. I'm done. And around that same time, I found out that the Lyme specialist that I had been seeing was actually had some lack of integrity that I didn't know about, found out that there was a patient who had just taken a really expensive medication, and decided to stop taking it and brought it back into the office and said, I want you to give this to a patient who can't afford it. And the doctor turned around and sold it to a patient. And I think for whatever reason, that lapse in integrity and me seeing that I can get triggered something that was so deep in me that it was beneath my illness. So to my understanding of like, right and wrong and like, what it didn't feel and good now that it snapped me out of it in such an intense way because I was so like, you know, you, you become a little bit self obsessed when you're sick, because you have your inner self and you're worried like you're trying to keep yourself alive. And for whatever reason that snapped me out of it, and made me understand that I needed to be in control. And in that the way that the industry around Lyme disease is structured is at its best people just kind of like throwing stuff at a wall to see if it sticks out the worst, it can also be a kind of dark thing where people who are in a really vulnerable position end up kind of getting taken advantage


Tonya Papanikolov  18:06

100% It's like, so interesting that you say that because I feel like at the heart of what you just described, that's like the patient, Doctor relationship. And something that I feel like is shifting in integrative medicine and the the like, the coming together of different modalities. And what is at the core of that is truly integrity. And like having the like that trust. So there's a really cool paper that I have just found recently and I want to get into. But it's like the roll I feel that a healer, right, because like if you want to think about like what a doctor really should be doing, at the core of what they're doing, what they're doing and their intelligence and this dynamic it is there is a power imbalance, right? Because you are sick and you're seeking help from from somebody that ideally is going to provide that and offer that guidance. But what is really needed in that relationship is a sense of like, hold my hand as we walk together. And like I'm going to empower you and this has nothing to do with like I think I believe a true healer is going to be able to like elicit that healing response in the patient, through their nervous system through their ability to like, empower them and right like if our nervous systems are like sensing the safety in a situation or in a person. And we've entrusted somebody with the responsibility of like, can you help me walk in the mud and be in the darkest of times right now? And I don't know like I just love that that was that that was such a key moment for you because I think it's just such a huge responsibility and it has to be shared and the integrity and the trust and like the love and the sense of like, yeah, just like it has to be present between those two people for it to have the most benefit. Still response for the patient?


Kate Hinkens  20:02

Totally. Because I think like you're saying the healer or the doctor, whoever's practitioners job is just to show somebody possibility, and like help them see possibility in themselves. You know, it's like, if you're the star of the relationship, you're wrong.


Tonya Papanikolov  20:19

Yeah. And and then it's just, it's so hard because I'm like, Yeah, money gets involved in. I mean, I literally can't imagine being, like, 30. How did the hoody pharmaceutic, like how


Kate Hinkens  20:28

it was insane, my mom actually came out for like a month to LA to help me. And she created, she's amazing, she created this whole chart, and like all the things, but it was truly insane. And I think what I've realized now is that that level of complexity, especially when you are so compromised, can lead to just more nervous system dysregulation and more feeling unsafe than it can to actual healing. And so much of healing is just about how receptive you are to it. So like, even though I did all of the herbal protocols, my body wasn't ready to receive that or attuned enough to be sensitive enough to respond to that. And so I think so much of it is just like getting your body to a place that you can receive. So then, when finding the venom therapy, I basically had heard you kind of go down these deep rabbit holes, as I'm sure you know, if you're mold dirty. I was in Facebook groups, I was in every corner of the internet, you know, and Instagram hashtags, all of that, and was like, This sounds a little bit off the deep end, even for me, and I'm pretty down. But what I did is I started to just look at the research papers. And I was spending so much time just like being in bed because I was so exhausted that that was something that I could do was like, understand this thing. And it was such a strong, it made so much sense to me. Once I understood the science behind it, and basically immediately dropped everything told my family, okay, I'm not doing any any of the stuff that we've talked again, I, you know, stopped seeing all the doctors that I've been seeing, and literally just ordered myself some BS. It's like, alright, that's Wow.


Tonya Papanikolov  22:23

Whoa, did you have anybody help you like,


Kate Hinkens  22:27

so I learned from a couple of different people, you know, like different internet people over time there?


Tonya Papanikolov  22:33

Isn't there a lady who discovered this? That was she didn't


Kate Hinkens  22:36

discover, basically, even if there has been around for it, or? I mean, it's been around for like, 10,000 years, right. So and there are so many different people have had a relationship with them as far back as we know, human history. And so it was, you know, Hippocrates talks about fever, which is wild, it was also one of the roots of acupuncture for certain African acupuncture modalities, you know, it has these like deep deep ties. And now what it as all things are right now, just like with the mushrooms, the wisdom of the old stuff is coming back. But now back with our science 100%.


Tonya Papanikolov  23:17

So cool. Yeah. Okay, so, how long ago was this? Like? So I got diagnosed


Kate Hinkens  23:24

in 2019. Okay, recent. Yeah. And then started stinging, I think in 2020. And then I was fully cured within a year and a half from that. Whoa, yeah. So


Tonya Papanikolov  23:39

okay, so the premise premise of bee venom therapy is you are using the, your stinging yourself. And is that along the spinal column? Or where did you do it? Yeah, so


Kate Hinkens  23:51

you sting primarily on meridians on either side of your spine. It is the bladder meridian and Chinese medicine, which is the longest Meridian in the body. So it starts all the way at the top of your head goes down your neck and your spine and then goes all the way down, you started at the head to I didn't start at the head that comes a little bit later. But you sting primarily because part of it venom is a toxin. And so you want to keep the venom close to the organs that can detox it, especially in the beginning because you don't want to create a like overwhelming histamine response for your body. So by stinging there, you are keeping it in your like Central organs and central trunk and so your body's able to process it. And also because you're right along your central nervous system with it being your spine, your body is able to distribute it throughout the body super efficiently. And so the way that you do it is basically, you start very slowly, you start with not even a full swing, and then eventually work your way up to usually somewhere between like seven and 12 stings a day, for three days a week and the average treatment time is About a year and a half to three years, and then you find out, you know whether you've cured it or not.


Tonya Papanikolov  25:06

Well, what are some of the conditions that it can help with? There's autoimmune conditions. I know you've mentioned various, like breast cancer, prostate cancer. Are there any other autoimmune conditions like Crohn's or anything along those lines that you think maybe there's not research? But there's, if you've seen anything?


Kate Hinkens  25:23

Yeah, I mean, Crohn's definitely, Ms. Definitely. What's so crazy though, is it can treat this broad range of conditions. But the reason for that is really like core to what the venom is about. So be them as a substance is fascinating. Because it creates obviously a localized inflammatory reaction, you get stung by a bee, the area swells up, and you're like, that's inflammation, right? But what's actually going on behind the scenes is that it is reducing the expression of inflammatory cytokines, which are what sets off the sort of cascade of inflammatory reactions that we feel and see in our bodies. And then it also regulates the production of regulatory T cells, which are what are often often compromised when people have autoimmune conditions. And at the core of most modern diseases, is inflammation. Because inflammation exacerbates and allows for things to exist, you know, bad things to proliferate in the body, basically, and so on like a chemical level you have. One of the main compounds is melatonin. And Melatonin is a peptide that can granulate biofilms that surround really hard to treat bacterias and viruses. So a lot of really sneaky bacterias. And viruses like HIV, or like Lyme disease, or like Epstein Barr Virus will build these biofilms around them that are these Protective Shells. And the problem with that is that antibiotics are completely unable to touch that. And so that's why so many of the treatments we have for these things just aren't that effective. Because once a biofilm has been built, it can't be touched. And so allanton can actually break the biofilm and then go in and kill the bacteria or virus inside in a way that no other substance can.


Tonya Papanikolov  27:15

And are these if we like, Magic School Bus into the body. And so, you know, you get stung, and these compounds are entering the bloodstream? Where do these biofilms hide, like so forth? Just like in the circulatory system? Are they in the circulatory system amongst all the other cells? Are they in the organs? Where are these biofilms? Are they all over the body, basically,


Kate Hinkens  27:42

all over the body. And the thing with something like if we're talking about Lyme disease is Lyme, the borrelia bacteria is a spider keep bacteria. So that means it's in a spiral shape. And it can kind of corkscrew its way into any tissue at once in the body. And so it'll hide out in different organs or wherever you're kind of weak, it will hide. And then if there's a time of stress, then it will become activated. And so it'll hide in you know, the reproductive organs it will hide in the


Tonya Papanikolov  28:14

digestive system. In America. Yeah, that's so wild. Yeah. Same with parasites, I guess to parasites will hide in biofilms. Exactly.


Kate Hinkens  28:23

Yeah, yeah, it's a similar structure the Wow,


Tonya Papanikolov  28:27

okay. So crazy. So So basically, yeah, what you're saying is at the core of like, the mechanism of action of the venom is an inflammatory response, but also providing kind of helping to lessen the inflammatory load in the body through these like intelligent compounds.


Kate Hinkens  28:46

Yeah, I mean, the crazy thing with bee venom is that it's, it's made up of six, like over 60 Different ingredients are compounds that they've identified as being active inside the body. And so it's not as simplistic as that, you know, you have one called Aquaman, which is the smallest known, like, neurotoxic compound that exists. So it's a neurotoxin, polypeptide that can cross the blood brain barrier, and has actually been studied to be used as a shuttle for other drugs across the blood brain barrier, it's gonna


Tonya Papanikolov  29:21

stay because that's like with Alzheimer's, and like a lot of the pharma think they haven't developed any new Alzheimer's medication since 2004. Because, like, while all of the pharmaceuticals actually make the condition worse, but they haven't been able to exactly what you said, find anything that can really be small enough to enter the central nervous system, and like access that. Yeah, and


Kate Hinkens  29:43

the Alzheimer's one is super interesting, too, because part of the reason that Alzheimer's symptoms exist is because the brain gets inflamed. certain regions of the brain become inflamed, which of course is going to impair memory. It's going to impair how how axons are able to fire it like it impairs the way that you think and the brain operates. And so they've found that because the venom can reduce the neuro inflammation, it can help not only reduce the progression of Alzheimer's, but also reverse the progression of Alzheimer's, because it's able to repair the myelin sheets that are on the ends of strands of DNA, which is wild. It's


Tonya Papanikolov  30:23

so cool. It's so cool. I'm gonna send you the paper that I was telling you about because it also talks about lions Maine's ability to do the exact same things via the Yeah, combating because it's also a potent anti inflammatory. And so much of even like depression, the way that depression can lead to Alzheimer's or dementia is like similarly through that neuro inflammation. Yeah, really interesting that just all of all of the research around this, yeah,


Kate Hinkens  30:51

it's a really feel that's just emerged. And interestingly,


Tonya Papanikolov  30:55

is there anything so like, yeah, what kind of bass do you actually stick with? Because I was like, I would love to dive way more into like, actually reading more research and I'm so lucky to get to talk to you. But like, I was reading something about the queen bee stings and how like from days, zero to three, the queen bee has the strongest potency of venom. Is that a thing? Do you stink with queen bees? Or is it any bee,


Kate Hinkens  31:18

so I don't sting with queen bees. Because once you start to understand the like mechanism and like social structure of a hive, like the queen is at the crux of the health of the hive. I don't I haven't done it personally, but I'm interested in learning more about that, but I staying with so they have to be honeybees. They can be from different origins. So honeybees aren't native to North America. They are primarily from Italy, like you have your sort of European honeybee, you have your Russian honeybee, and then you have your African honey bee. And they've all made their way over primarily via Catholic missionaries, actually, especially the ones from Europe, which is really interesting. They brought them over to be used, because they loved the beeswax candles. And they had a rule that you could only burn beeswax candles and masses in the ancient church. And so they brought over beehives so that they could bring them but just crazy. So cool. So North


Tonya Papanikolov  32:18

America has like a big population of them now, because they


Kate Hinkens  32:22

were brought over. Yeah, so North America has a big population of honeybees now. And then we also have a bunch of native bees as well. The native bees that we have aren't medicinal and they're stings and a lot of them don't actually sting usually. And so the honeybees is what you need for stinging got it


Tonya Papanikolov  32:41

really tell us more about that like structure of the hive and the social structure. Yeah,


Kate Hinkens  32:46

so I mean, these are fascinating because they operate, unlike basically any other organism that we understand. They're sort of like this macro organism, they all work together as they don't have a sense of like personal identity. It's not individual identity, it's like Hive identity. And so to think about each bee kind of as neurons in a brain, so they're not making decisions, as we're seeing would make they make a decision, like I'm a neuron, I'm going to fire and present an option like a potential path. And then other bees have to either agree and fire with it, or disagree and go in a different direction. And so even just like the complex decision making that happens with the way that these work, so all of the bees that you ever see out in the world, our female honeybees, every single day, ever see out a flower is a female honeybee. So the male bees aren't very good at a lot. They know how to feed themselves. And so they hang out for most of their life. They are inside the hive. And their role is primarily about communication. So they help with the hive, communicating about what the goings on are, but the female bees are entirely responsible for everything else in the hive. And the male bees really only exist and their primary function is to mate and go out on these meeting flights to try to mate with the queen bee from another colony. So the weather changes and it starts to get a little bit colder and there's a little bit less resources for the hive. The female bees will kick the male bees out and they literally drag them out of the hive. I have watched it happen. They drag them out of the hive and they leave them outside and then they starved because



Wow. Very


Kate Hinkens  34:53

interesting. But but these are so they're so incredibly because they're also these natural. They're natural herbal LIS they're natural, like they know how to self medicate so well, because they have at their disposal, everything in their immediate environment. So they are true herbalist. They're going and visiting, you know, 50 to 100 flowers in a single flight out and back. And so they are gathering nectar from specific flowers and order to so called out flowers, benefits. So they'll bring it back to the hive, and then they'll store it away in part of the comb. And that's sort of like a medicine cabinet. So this, this will be like the red clover section of cocoa on to a specific section of comb in order to use the medicinal benefits of that flower if there's like disease that comes up in the hive, or


Tonya Papanikolov  35:46

whatever it is, and the queen bees always staying in the hive and her prime role is making more laying eggs making babies making babies.


Kate Hinkens  35:58

Yeah, so the literally her entire life leaves the hive once maybe. Wow.


Tonya Papanikolov  36:04

So how long is its lifespan,


Kate Hinkens  36:06

the queen bee can live up to three to four years. But a worker is lifespan is usually around six weeks. And so that's it's much shorter, but the queen bees so she will not see the light of day for the majority of her life. It's completely dark inside the hive. And all she's doing all day long, is laying eggs. And she will lay between 15 102,000 eggs in a single day. Wow. She's doing that all day.


Tonya Papanikolov  36:36

Or even throughout. Yeah,


Kate Hinkens  36:38

you're not during the winter. You're right. And so she's doing that during like whenever it's warm enough, then they're not hibernating. That's what she's doing. And so she has these attendants like these little her little assistants, who go around her and feed her. And she doesn't even go outside of the hive to go to the bathroom. Like all the other bees go and fly around to go to the bathroom. Hers is cleaned up by the other nets. So


Tonya Papanikolov  37:03

that is Wow, that's so cool. Yeah, she's like an extra two grand. So, hierarchies in nature, like where I guess, you know, you see that with Lion, like all all animals, potentially. There might be some of that. But like, it's really evident with the bees.


Kate Hinkens  37:19

But what's so interesting, I think, because there is this, I think misconception around you see the Queen and you think like oh, she's you know, she's pampered constantly. But actually, if you think about like the content of her life, her role is service. And so like the true matriarch and the true leader, she is of complete service. The other also are of service at that they get to leave the hive and they get to go like experience this beautiful world where she like deep devotion and dedication only hive. And so it's so interesting, because we think Queen means


Tonya Papanikolov  37:55

absolutely, I love that I love looking at it that way. It's so true. One of the questions that I got from a community member was, yeah, basically, what are the impacts on the bees? So you're, you're stinging with with BBT? And how do you frame that? And how do you look at that?


Kate Hinkens  38:11

Yeah, so actually love talking about this, because this was one of the things that most crushed me and was like the biggest deterrent for me and starting BDT. And I remember for the first month of me stinging, I would be alone in my bathroom with my little box of bees. And I would cry because I felt so terrible that I was killing the bees and like my hands were shaking, because after a bee stings it Stinger falls out and then it dies. And with VVT you actually will kill the bees just to make it quicker for them. So they're not suffering. And absolutely, I mean, we need bees, it's so crucial that we have these in our world. But I think what's an interesting layer of nuance to add is that the way that bees are primarily used in our agriculture system in the US, these are kind of pimped out to different farms to use for pollination. And primarily in California. It's like almonds, and you know, citrus and whatever else. And so the bees will be brought to a place and they will eat a mono diet for several weeks of only that one type of pollen and nectar that actually ruins their gut microbiome. And I'm far more susceptible to diseases. And so that's the primary way that the majority of beekeepers make a living is by renting out bees in that way. And then it actually leads to the decline of big populations. But most beekeepers, even beekeepers who adore the bees and want to do the best for them are having to do that. So some beekeepers have started supplying bees for bee venom therapy. it, and it provides them an alternate source of income that actually allows them to keep their hives healthier, which keeps the overall bee population healthier. The other thing that I think is important to understand, like I said, The Queen will lay 1500 to 2000 eggs in a single day, in an entire two year course of the venom therapy you're using under 2000 bees. And so of course, that's not to delegitimize that that's not a good thing. But I do think it's important to understand that, you know, a colony of bees is anywhere from 40 to 150,000. Bees, like there are a lot of them. And then the other thing that I think is really important, and that I've noticed so much with anybody who's had experience with me Venom therapy, is that that intimacy with the death is also really important. I think that there's something because life indicates death, always right. So like, we cannot walk in this world, without harming something else, we do not get to live without some level of give and take, right. And so I think when people are given that intimacy with death on that level, and then paired with this deep, deep gratitude of like this thing is, it's so much closer into the way that so many ancient cultures lived. It was, it was not like it was that they were giving gratitude and reverence for that life. And gives people just such a different perspective. Yeah.


Tonya Papanikolov  41:32

100% Yeah, I think there's like that reverence and the exchange. And I'm sure anybody who's gone through chronic like, yeah, you can get to this point, as well, where you're like, so desperate to feel better. And I think as long as you can stay in this place of like, extreme recognition, that like, one life is like, it's not that like one life necessary, necessarily lives like above another, but it's that they're assisting you in this like, beautiful journey, and that you can also give back afterwards and help increase the population and like, do so much. And I can like, I think intimacy is such a beautiful word for that, like, I could imagine.


Kate Hinkens  42:18

Reciprocity, like I think that I think that's one of the great teachings of the bees, is understanding that because you were given such a great gift, you get to give a great, yes, yeah. And you get to support in return. And I think that's, yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  42:35

absolutely. I love what you were saying about the behavior of the hive, acting as one acting is like one kind of shared consciousness, although you did mention, there's like some optionality for like the beasts to like, decide to do that thing. But like, overall, it does, there's a lot of similarities around fungi. And that shared kind of inter connected mycelial network that kind of is one coming up, like there's one network. And in that is like a reproductive action of actually like shooting up the mushroom, and then spreading the spores. And that is ultimately for the good of spreading this network that weaves through like all of biomass on Earth. And that that network effect is, it's just so powerful. And we don't know quite as much about like fungi as, as perhaps we do bopis quite yet, but there is there definitely sentient in the sense that like they know when we're around. And there's a form of intelligence that has been shown throughout various research and, and also just like, you know, how they have existed for so long, but it's just so cool. Because when I got really fascinated with fungi as well, and just understanding like that they are their little like pharmaceutical powerhouses, basically. And then, and they have those compounds because they have to produce them for themselves to protect themselves in nature, and they're dealing with the exact same parasites, bacteria, fungi, like molds as we are, and then you bring these compounds into the body, and they confer those benefits in us to like, it's so cool.


Kate Hinkens  44:16

So cool. Do you happen to know how long mushrooms have been around like on the planet? Because we're talking 100 aliens? I mean, yes, like, yes, one of the oldest organisms, and so cool, because and even with bees, we're not nearly as old as mushrooms because bees starting to develop I think 100 and 50 million years ago, and then I'm sure fungi long before that.


Tonya Papanikolov  44:39

I want to say like I want to throw out I think I've seen figures as high as 2.3 billion years but like, also I could be wrong. Insane


Kate Hinkens  44:49

you know, if we're talking about wisdom, and like elders, like these are the planetary elbows. You know, these yeah, there's going to be


Tonya Papanikolov  44:56

100% Cool. Well, and there's


Kate Hinkens  44:59

deep connect stands between the bees and mushrooms. Are you familiar with the Siberian bee Shaman?


Tonya Papanikolov  45:06

Oh my gosh, I don't think so to tell.


Kate Hinkens  45:09

So the most ancient depiction that anthropologists think it's the most ancient depiction of the use of psychedelic mushrooms in human civilization, and it was a cave painting found in Algeria. And it is a picture of this man, a shaman, his face is it B, and then his entire body is covered in mushrooms, like the entire body is mushrooms. And I have to send you a picture of it. It's amazing. And so there was always this deep relationship between mushrooms and bees. And more recently, it was identified, some of the ways that that exists is that and you might have heard Paul Stamets work around these, the bees, rooms. And he basically that bees were visiting mushrooms in the morning when there was do on the mushrooms, and specific mushrooms. So they really preferred Reishi and Amadou mushrooms, and those were their favorites. And then basically, researchers realized that the reason that they preferred does is because they increase their immunity towards a lot of diseases that affect bees. And so the bees are using mushrooms as medicine and it's,


Tonya Papanikolov  46:22

they are little herbalists that's, I have never heard of a bee called an herbalist and I just, I love that depiction. And it's so true. That's exactly what they are. Okay, and why doesn't BBT work if you have mold,


Kate Hinkens  46:38

it's not actually that it doesn't work, it's that it's dangerous part of bee venom therapy is it will activate mast cells, because whenever you're putting something that's toxic inside of the body and creates a histamine response, you're gonna have activation. And then when you're dealing with mold, mast cells are chronically activated, your histamine response is way off the charts. And so then if you get stung by a bee, you're more likely to have a really outsized reaction to the histamine, which can be dangerous, because it can mean that you could develop an anaphylactic allergy to it and that your body is in such a heightened state that it can't receive the full benefits of bee venom.


Tonya Papanikolov  47:22

Yeah, that makes sense. Is there any other country like I don't know, any, any people that aren't ready for BVT? Or that you would suggest nervous system healing like anything that would maybe come before BVT?


Kate Hinkens  47:37

Definitely, yeah, I think that be then I'm therapy is an incredible tool, that that you do need to kind of lay some groundwork, basically, some of the things that are super crucial before starting the band therapy, or the health of your detox organs, and like all of your detox pathways, right. So you want to make sure that your lymphatic system is working properly, that your liver and kidneys are working properly, that your digestive system is working properly. Because when you're putting something as strong as the venom into the body, you need to know that your body is going to be able to detoxify itself, and actually getting rid of the stuff that the bee venom is liberating inside of the body. And so you need your system to be strong enough in order to do that. So I think it's on detox pathways on nutrition on getting histamines down in the nutrition and getting the nervous system. nervous system regulation is a huge part of it as well. So that you can handle the cortisol spike that's just inherent to when you get stung by a beat, you get this boost of adrenaline and cortisol because your body is responding to a toxin. I


Tonya Papanikolov  48:45

mean, I have like so many questions about it. But I know it's kind of it would be so specific to every individual person and just kind of like starting slow. But did you start with ones like what is it one string a day, I know you slowly work up to like, what is it every other day or three times a week. That's


Kate Hinkens  49:03

a times a week. And I started with not even a full sting full stint. I knew that in basically the way that a stinger a bee that I'm sure Stinger works is that it has a muscle attached to the actual stinger. And the muscle continues to contrast crazy, even after he had it's gone away. And so it'll usually keep contracting for like 10 or so minutes. And that's pumping more and more venom in the body. And so you can actually kind of control the amount of venom that you're getting by controlling how long you leave the cigarette. And so you start literally with just testing. So it's like how in and out under two seconds, and then you work your way up to a minute and then five minutes and go slowly.


Tonya Papanikolov  49:47

Yeah, so I guess then when you are singing it into the body, you're holding the B there, and then I kind of stopped the stinger just stayed in you. Yep, it does. It does. So it would detach from the B at that point and then you'd have to take the stinger out or you Leave to be there.


Kate Hinkens  50:01

No, you take the bee away. Because usually you're holding the bee with like a tweezers, or sometimes your fingers and then you'll pull the bee away the stinger stays in the body, and then you remove the sterile, okay.


Tonya Papanikolov  50:13

Wow. Yeah, what would you say to somebody that's new to their journey or just got diagnosed and is like so brand new to this world and is feeling like they don't know where to turn to know


Kate Hinkens  50:25

that it's not a life sentence. Know that nothing's forever and especially not illness, that you have the power to heal. And the best guide is to trust yourself. And of course, look outside wisdom, but ultimately, it needs to be coming from you. Because I think so much of the power of healing is like in taking power back and knowing it's within you. Totally.


Tonya Papanikolov  50:55

I love that. What is your routine look like now with kind of all of this. So I actually


Kate Hinkens  51:03

recently started singing myself again, so I hadn't been singing myself. And then I got COVID and was having really, really bad post COVID symptoms. And there have been some recent studies that have shown that bee venom can kill the COVID virus, which is really interesting. And so I started back up with stings, and a lower number of stings. But it's helped so dramatically in the past few weeks that doing it and helping clear like the kind of body ache and brain fog that I'd been feeling from post COVID. And so now I think what's amazing about them therapy is now it's this tool that I have and can use in so many different ways. And so it's just so incredible, because, you know, if I start to have like that inflammation stuff I can do, you know, bee venom therapy that to support, you know, the inflammation in my gut, like I can use it as this amazing, like tool forever. Yeah.


Tonya Papanikolov  52:00

So cool. I want to try it for some more gut healing. Yeah, that's fascinating. When you have chronic illness, I think a lot of and I've been there so many times, where like you almost develop this hyper vigilance of the body and fear, right? It's like, oh, my gosh, can I eat that? What's it going to do? Should I have this glass of wine? Like, because you're so protective? And like, you know, like you said, just wanting to like survive and not have flare ups and all these things? Like, what has that journey of hypervigilance and kind of the relaxation of the nervous system looked like for you? And did you find at what point in BBT? Did that start to like, was it basically as soon as you started to kind of experience some benefits and some of that healing that that started to take a backseat? Or can you speak to that a little bit? Yeah, I


Kate Hinkens  52:48

mean, you're so right, that I think the hypervigilance is something that so many people can relate to in chronic illness, because you have to be so careful, it's not an option. You know, you're you're thinking about it, when you're going out to eat, can I go to dinner with my friends, and in some, you know, am I gonna feel terrible three days after. And I think that, you know, it definitely has been a journey. But now I'm in a place that I have more freedom in what I eat, and what I'm able to do, and my body's resilience than I ever have had. And I have less inflammation than I did, even when I was on the hyper specific, crazy things. So I think that I can hugely credit the bees for that. Because the bees from what I've noticed, create, like such a resilience in the body, and this ability to respond to things differently. So like one of the things just as an example is like with gluten, I didn't eat for like, probably eight years or something. And now like, I can have a bite of, you know, whatever. And I'm fine, because the body is not over reactive. And so it's completely about training the nervous system, and then also having the bee venom to support the just inflammatory process of the body. And so that's, you know, that's the meditation. That's the breath work that I love. It's like, that's been a huge part of my life and yoga. All of that. Yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  54:17

I love that you mentioned that is there's something that I think movement in whatever form that takes for somebody like running or, you know, yoga or flick flowing and dancing, like you mentioned, like, I think there's something just so dynamic, and it's like flowy, and that process that counters the approach that you know, we take in life in so many ways. It's just like it's so so essential, and it's so beautiful. The healing that comes from that to one


Kate Hinkens  54:48

I think, too. It's about this like because I felt so not in my body when I was sick, like I felt I felt like it was this like creature other than you, like try to control and Some way, or like, like, you know, I didn't know how to relate, because, you know, I stopped recognizing myself in myself. And so I think that embodiment is such a huge part of healing, like getting back, like actually being with your body and all of those things are great to


Tonya Papanikolov  55:17

be totally. And when another question we had was, I didn't know how to pronounce the name of this test. But did you get 100%? Clean? Index? Oh, the iGenex it next lab? posttreatment. Yes, I


Kate Hinkens  55:31

did. I retested it was about a year and a half after I started studying. And then I was completely clear of Lyme, and both of the CO infections that I had, which were the Vizia and Bartonella. So Wow.


Tonya Papanikolov  55:46

How remarkable, truly, so Wow, thank you so, so much, I just like I feel so expanded in your presence. And it's just like hearing stories of healing. My friend was actually just telling me about this way of, there's a great book about parenting. And it was this woman who traveled the world with her baby visiting indigenous cultures, and learned about how she actually like, went to visit an indigenous culture. And she was like, Whoa, all of these kids are fucking amazing. Like, my, like, what is happening in the West, like, these kids are amazing. Like, we need to do what they're doing. And yeah, and she found that like, at the heart of it was storytelling. And that that was how they learned. And that was how the parents taught was through story. And is myth and just like, it could be real, but it also could be mythic, its nature and just a lot of that because it's like, hearing stories is how we just come into resonance with like, a reality that is possible. It's how we learn. It's how we relearn it's how like, even just like, you know, this sound current of truth for somebody how that resonates, and somebody else and what that elicits in somebody else is just learning. It's so cool. Yeah,


Kate Hinkens  57:10

it's very, I think it's sort of like the a lot of the Joseph Campbell stuff. Have you read much before, like very powerful sort of hero's journey? See, like, the through lines in people's story. Like in specificity, you see these like, beautiful universal through lines, and I think so


Tonya Papanikolov  57:29

connected, it's really beautiful. Yeah, yeah. But thank you so much for sharing your journey with us in the work you do. And just like being such a advocate, and yeah, advocate for the bees and healing and, and all of the things you do.


Kate Hinkens  57:47

Thank you for having me.


Tonya Papanikolov  57:48

And if you can leave our audience with one wish prayer intention, what would it be?


Kate Hinkens  57:55

I wish that we will all have the courage to trust ourselves, even when it's hard. Yes.


Tonya Papanikolov  58:07

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Thank you so much, Kate, and thank you. Look forward to meeting you in person one day.


Kate Hinkens  58:17

You have to come beekeeping and I want to learn all about


Tonya Papanikolov  58:19

I will, I will totally thank you again, so much. Thank


Kate Hinkens  58:23

you. Alright, talk soon. Bye. With


Tonya Papanikolov  58:26

deep gratitude. Thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace in and peace out friends



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