Apis contains more than the poison of the honey bee, Apium virus, for in preparing the remedy the live bees are put in a bottle and after being irritated by shaking, five times their weight of dilute alcohol is poured over them and allowed to remain a week before filtering off for the resulting tincture, which represents in drug power the 1st. The following is from Hering: “Among all our drugs this is the one of which we have the most different preparations. There is but one right kind. It is the pure poison, which is obtained by grasping the bee with a small forceps, and catching the minute drop of virus suspended from the point of the sting. It is absurd to dispute the solubility of the poison in alcohol, and foolish to take the whole bee with all the foreign matter and impurities, which color the tincture.” The symptoms as given in Allen’s Encyclopaedia include those made from the provings, whether from the virus alone or from the whole bee, as well as those caused by the sting of the bee. Apis was first proved by Dr. Frederick Humphries, later the proprietor of Humphries’ Specifies, in 1852. Metcalf says: “We are principally indebted for the proving of this very admirable remedy, to the indefatigable zeal and perseverance of our colleague, Dr. F. Humphries.” The subject of animal poisons and their effects, has given rise to a great deal of discussion as to whether or no they were inert when introduced into the stomach or mucous membranes; it is pretty well conceded now, however, that they do act when introduced through the digestive tract, although less quickly and not in as marked a degree as when introduced into the blood direct.
I assume that you all know from personal experience some of the prominent symptoms of Apis, including oedematous swelling of the skin, mucous membranes and cellular tissue, and burning, stinging, needle or nettle-like pains. In addition we have as characteristics of the remedy, an aggravation of all symptoms about 5 P.M., a condition of general sleepiness or stupor and an absence of thirst. As a rule, the effect travel from the right to the left side of the body, or at least start on the right side (163),and there is usually an intolerance of the heat of the bed (8) or as Dunham puts it, “warmth aggravates; cold relieves,” which latter will include the statement that the pains are relieved by applications of cool or cold water. It is an important remedy in serous effusions (120). In erysipelas (68) and in oedematous swellings in general you will find frequent call for it. In erysipelas, on whatever part of the body it may be, there is inflammation, puffiness and oedematous swelling, a boggy or baggy appearance as if filled with water, which swelling, as a rule, dose not pit on pressure, and is greatly in excess to the amount of pain. The pains are burning and stinging as if the parts were pricked with pins or needles, and while usually not intense, are especially noticeable on touch when the patient will liken the sensation to being pricked with nettles. With the pains there is a desire for cool applications to the parts. The erysipelas usually starts on the right side and has a tendency to travel over to the left; commencing about the eye of the right side and spreading across the face to the left side, is a frequent happening. Apathy, sleeplessness or even unconsciousness, 5 P.M. aggravation and an absence of thirst will serve to make the choice of your remedy more certain. While lack of thirst is the rule in all Apis cases, there is found, at times, more or less thirst: in such case the condition of stupor and the aggravation in the afternoon will overbalance the presence of thirst and Apis will still be your remedy. Apis does its work so well and is so seldom disappointing in its results, that I am always pleased when I see symptoms calling for its use; but we must be constantly on our guard lest our fondness for a remedy does not prejudice us in its favor to the exclusion of other more clearly indicated but less well-known remedies. It is very valuable in erysipelas after operations and in dissecting wounds (62). In urticaria (201) Apis is frequently called for, the leading indication, as I have found it, being the afternoon aggravation. In addition we have large blotches, with burning and stinging as from nettles. As a rule Apis patients are not restless, but are apathetic, indifferent or even unconscious; but we may have in hydrocephalus (119) and in meningitis (133) great restlessness and rolling of the head from side to side on the pillow; usually with the stupor in meningeal inflammation we have sudden starts with screaming as from severe pain in the head. It is of value in meningitis from suppressed eruptions (130), the stupor interrupted by short cries, and in tubercular hydrocephalus (119) it is apt to be your first choice when we have the stupor, occasional crying out and the boring of the head into the pillow. Apis is to be thought of in mania resulting from suppression of the menses (135), with stupor alternating with attacks of erotic mania, and for “mania from sexual excitement” (Talcott). The headache of the remedy consists usually of a hot heavy feeling in the head, with congestion and vertigo, worse lying down and closing the eyes (207), and with sudden stabbing pains in different parts of the head. The headache is “worse in a warm room” (Dunham) and from any motion (96) and almost universally relieved by external pressure of the hands (92) on the forehead especially. It is a very valuable remedy for a variety of diseases of the eye, including purulent and scrofulous ophthalmias (76) and various forms of inflammation of the cornea, in general characterized by serous exudations, great oedema and sudden stinging pains with, as a rule, relief from the application of cold water. In inflammation of the lids they are oedematous and often everted so that the lid actually rolls over on to the cheek. It is to be thought of in muscular asthenopia (72), with sharp, stinging pains on attempting to use the eyes, swelling of the lids, etc. The tongue of Apis in acute febrile states is red and hot, in diphtheria it is swollen and in scarlet fever it is sometimes cracked, sore and covered with blisters. We also find a feeling of rawness or as if the edges had been scalded (140) associated with the vesicles or pimples. In acute glossitis it is of great value, the tongue may be so swollen that it is almost impossible to swallow. In oedema of the larynx (191), with great distress for breath, Apis is apt to be your first choice. Also in suspected scarlet fever, with mottled rash on the hard palate, throat oedematous and bright-red, great pain on swallowing and no thirst, Apis is probably the remedy. Here is a good point from the Handbook: “Coldness of the tip of the nose when the throat begins to be sore is a pretty sure indication for Apis.” In diphtheria (62) you will probably use this remedy oftener than any other, for as Allen says: “It is almost a specific in true diphtheria, always indicated when the throat is very much swollen and oedematous, with severe stinging pains on attempting to swallow, with great inertia or even complete stupor,” along with the afternoon aggravation and absence of thirst. Do not forget that it is more apt to begin on the right side and from there travel over to the left. I use Apis as a prophylactic against diphtheria. You have already had your attention called to the difficulties that we encounter in saying and in being able to uphold the statement, that any remedy is of value as a prophylactic against any disease. The idea held by many of our school, is to use that remedy for a prophylactic that is indicated in the type of the disease that is prevalent or epidemic at the time. It is a theory that appeals to me as having not only good common sense, but also scientific reasoning back of it, for we do not believe in specifics, or any one remedy or combination of drugs that will cure all cases of disease that have a common name. The only objection that I can bring against it is that it is often impossible to know at the start what remedy is the generally indicated one and by the time you have decided, much valuable time may have been lost. For all my liking for this theory, I always use Apis as a prophylactic against diphtheria, and while my experience with it has been much too limited to permit it to have great weight, still I have had but one failure up to the present time from its use, and in that instance the patient acknowledged, after he had contracted the disease, that he had not taken his prophylactic regularly. Keep the idea in mind, use as occasion requires and note the results; you will then be in a position to accept or reject it as the case may be. If you accept it, do not fail to observe as strict a quarantine as circumstances may admit; if you reject it let it be after failure with the potency of your own make, for my personal experience has been limited to the use of Apis 30th that I ran up from the tincture. As regards the stomach, we will simply note that vomiting of food the frequent efforts to vomit, must be associated with the Apis symptoms in meningitis, the early stage of scarlet fever, etc. In dropsies of the abdomen (11) or in general anasarca (63) especially when resulting from peritonitis or dependent upon inflammation of the kidneys, Apis is of great value. One symptom must be borne in mind in reference to all abdominal affections, or in remote conditions that give rise to troubles in the abdomen, and that is a sore bruised feeling in the abdominal walls, with excessive tenderness to touch (12); sometimes when the abdomen is not swollen, a in hydrocephalus and a hydrocephaloid condition due to infantile diarrhoea and cholera infantum (31), this bruised soreness of the abdominal walls would be very characteristic of the remedy. It is of value in cholera infantum, with constant relapses, threatening brain troubles (31) characterized by stupor which is interrupted by occasional short cries, sunken abdomen, vomiting, involuntary stools with every motion, or constant oozing from the anus of which the patient is unconscious, and no thirst. If in addition here should be oedema of the feet and genitals, the case would present still further indications calling for Apis. It is a remedy to be thought of in chronic diarrhoea (58), stools that are dark and worse after eating (57), or where the stools is so loose that they cannot urinate without being prepared for, or having a movement of the bowels (62). It is useful in haemorrhoids (86), and in haemorrhoids after confinement (153), with sharp stinging pains, “better form cold and cold water” (Lilienthal). In acute inflammation of the kidneys, croupous nephritis (124), it is very frequently called for perhaps associated with aching and soreness in the back or in the region of the kidneys, and a bruised sensation in the abdominal walls. This croupous nephritis is found especially as the result of cold, or during or subsequent to the eruptive disease and diphtheria. The urine, in these cases, is apt to be scanty or almost suppressed (200), with the usual accompaniments of albumin, casts, etc., but it is rarely bloody. The dropsy (63) is very great, comes on rapidly and is especially marked on the face and upper part of the body; along with this we have stupor, dryness of the skin and absence of thirst. In chronic interstitial as well as in chronic croupous nephritis, it is useful in temporary exacerbations, with an increase of the dropsy, sometimes about the head, when there would be an increase in the stupor, and sometimes in the chest, when there would be great difficulty in breathing and suffocation on lying down. While the urine is usually more or less suppressed in nephritis due to erysipelas, scarlet fever and diphtheria, still, when there is no inflammation of the kidneys, the urine in Apis is quite free and pale, although the patients drink but little. It is useful in incontinence of urine in old men (199) as well as in cystitis, with frequent or involuntary micturition, often passed with a stinging pain (194). At times in cystitis there may be strangury or the urine may be retained in the bladder. It is to be thought of in hydrocele (119) and in inflammation and in inflammation and swelling, especially of the right testicle (188). Apis affects, particularly, the right ovary (147) and it is of value in various forms of inflammation (148) and neuralgia of the right ovary, with sharp stinging pains and sensitiveness to touch (148); it is also of value in pelvic cellulitis, with the pains and the extreme soreness over the lower abdominal region. Remember it also in cystic tumor of the ovary (147). Apis would be indicated in dysmenorrhoea, when there was soreness in the ovarian region and a puffed, waxy appearance of the face, and in threatened abortion (13) with soreness of the ovaries. In hydrothorax, either as the result of pleurisy or dependent upon disease of the kidneys, Apis has as a prominent symptom a feeling of suffocation on lying down (24); along with this there is dyspnoea, with the sensation as if he could not draw another breath. The power of Apis to remove or absorb serous exudation is undoubted and we want to keep the remedy in mind in whatever part of the body we find the fluid. The cough of Apis is usually suffocative and spasmodic, as from irritation in the upper part of the chest or suprasternal fossa (44), and it is short and dry. We also have a fit of coughing brought on by pressure on the larynx (44). In pericarditis, requiring this remedy, we would find great soreness over the region of the heart, dropsy (109) and scanty urine. It is of value in synovitis, especially of the knee (125), with swelling and rosy redness, stinging pains and extreme sensitiveness to touch. It is frequently called for in an inflammation around the nail, run-round (163), with burning, stinging and great soreness. The intermittent fever for which we prescribe Apis has, with one exception, just the characteristics that the study of the remedy would lead us to expect. The chill comes on from 4-5 P.M. and is worse in a warm room and from external heat; they do not want to be wrapped up warmly in bed. The chill is accompanied by oppression of the breath and a sensation as if they would smother. There is more or less apathy and drowsiness throughout the chill and as it passes off the patient falls into a deep sleep which lasts until the end of the paroxysm. The sweating stage is slight or wanting. There is thirst during the chill (121), which is to be noted as the exception spoken of, but no thirst during the fever or sweat. Many authors state that Apis and Rhus tox. are incompatible and that neither should precede not directly follow the other, Hering says: Apis “often disagrees after Rhus tox. in eruptive diseases; and Rhus tox. given after Apis has often disagreed.” Farrington says: “Remember also its (Apis) inimical relation to Rhus tox.” H.N. Guernsey says the same thing. I have questioned as to whether our remedies when used in the potencies acted in an incompatible or inimical relation one towards the other. On making inquiry amongst those for whose knowledge on the subject I have the greatest respect, no satisfactory answer has ever been given me, the substance of the replies, in this instance, being that as Hering has said so, the rest of us had better accept it. It is a question on which there is, perhaps, no positive answer to be given at present, but I wish to quote from a recent lecture by Dr. William Boericke, who says: “It is said that Apis is inimical to Rhus. Such statements must not be made dogmatically, they are at best suggestive, only needing further clinical observation. I have seen strikingly prompt curative action from Apis in cases of Rhus poisoning so common in California, when the swelling around eyes and face generally was the chief objective symptom.” I use Apis 30th.
Lynn Cremona, comments on this article:
Apis Mellifica [Apis]:
by Pierce W.I.
Apis Mellifica contains more than the “poison” of the honey bee, which is known as Apium virus. In preparing Apis Mellifica the live bees are put in a bottle and after being irritated by shaking, five times their weight of dilute alcohol is poured over them and allowed to remain a week before filtering off for the resulting tincture, which represents in drug power the 1st.
The following is from Hering who in his “Guiding Symptoms” refers to Apus Virus.:
“Among all our drugs this is the one of which we have the most different preparations. There is but one right kind. It is the pure poison, which is obtained by grasping the bee with a small forceps, and catching the minute drop of virus suspended from the point of the sting. It is absurd to dispute the solubility of the poison in alcohol, and foolish to take the whole bee with all the foreign matter and impurities, which color the tincture.”