The alcoholic tincture and the virus of Apis mellifica, Linné, the common honey-bee.
Class, Insecta; Order, Hymenoptera; Family, Apidae.
COMMON NAMES: Honey-bee, Hive-bee.
History.—This well known bee inhabits the wilds in swarms, and is also kept in proper establishments for the purpose of obtaining its honey and wax. The insect is too well known to need a description here.
Preparation.—I. TINCTURA APIS MELLIFICAE, Tincture of apis. The preparation of apis generally employed is the alcoholic tincture, which, for general purposes, may be prepared as follows: Place a swarm of live bees in a large jar and then by shaking them excite their anger. When this is accomplished, cover them with deodorized alcohol and allow them to macerate a month; then decant and filter the liquid. The homeopathic tincture is prepared in the same manner by using 1 part of live bees to 5 parts of diluted alcohol, macerating 8 days, decanting, straining, and filtering. Diluted alcohol is also preferred for their dilutions of this preparation.
II. APIUM VIRUS.—This form is used but little by Eclectics, but largely in homeopathy. It is obtained either by drawing the sting and poison-bag from a freshly killed bee, inserting the sting into a small glass tube, and by compressing the bag, squeezing the poison into it. Or, with a pair of forceps seize a live bee and allow it to grasp a small piece of sugar. It will at once sting into the lump which will absorb the virus. This is to be repeated until a sufficient amount is secured to start a trituration, which is prepared like other homeopathic triturations as stated under Triturations.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—This remedy had its origin as a medicine in the homoeopathic school, but is now a general favorite among Eclectics for certain diseased conditions. Apis is diuretic, alterative, and diaphoretic. It specifically influences the urinary tract, small doses somewhat resembling cantharis in action, in removing irritation, and in larger doses, stimulating the renal organs and other portions of the urinary passages. The small dose may be employed if there be irritation, even though inflammation exists. Aconite, veratrum, and like agents, promote the action of apis, while ammonia and alcoholic liquors are antagonistic to it. It is specifically indicated where we have hot, burning, dry, itching surfaces; and where there is constant desire, but inability to urinate, the urine being dark-red in color. Apis is one of the most certain diuretics in the materia medica, and is of very great value in suppression and retention of urine, from atony. It may be used even when there is active inflammation: Rx Specific apis, gtt. v; aqua, fl℥iv. Mix. Teaspoonful every hour; or use an infusion of from 15 to 20 bees in water, 1 pint, for the usual urinary difficulties indicated above. It is a very useful remedy for urethral and cystic irritation, with burning, stinging pain, and constant and annoying tenesmus. Chronic nephritis and cystitis are sometimes cured by it. It serves a good purpose in diseases of women characterized by heat and a sensation of burning, with pain in the bladder and urethra, and constant desire to pass water. These conditions are relieved by it quicker than by any other agent. In menorrhagia, amenorrhoea, and leucorrhoea, with acute congestion of the ovaries, or in simple ovarian congestion, the parts being tender and painful, apis often gives prompt relief. Genital puffiness with irritation, and labial inflammation of the same character, are cured by it. Rx Specific apis, gtt. x; aqua, fl℥iv. Mix. Teaspoonful every 4 hours. Owing to its power of relieving renal irritation and engorgement, thereby increasing function, apis is an exceedingly useful agent in anasarca, ascites, and hydrothorax, provided the kidneys are in an active condition. For these troubles: Rx Specific apis, gtt. v; aqua, fl℥iv. Mix. Teaspoonful every hour. It is particularly useful in post-scarlatinal dropsy. Inflammatory sore mouth is benefited and often cured by apis. Sore throats, of an oedematous character, having a uniformly spread puffiness, as if the submucous tissues were involved—the parts appearing as if stung by a bee—are relieved by apis. These conditions are frequently met with as a complication of erysipelas and in the angina of scarlatina. It is often a prompt remedy for vesicular erysipelas, and for all subcutaneous inflammations, with burning, stinging, tensive, and lancinating pains, and dermal irritation. We have no better agent for the treatment of urticaria, or "hives," with soreness and intense itching, than apis. Puffiness is a strong indication in cutaneous diseases, and in traumatic injuries of the subcutaneous areolar tissues, it is often indicated by this symptom. It is a good remedy in rubeola and scarlatina, the usual indications being present. That form of rheumatism having the peculiar symptoms otherwise indicating apis, will be found to respond oftentimes to this remedy. We have known of well authenticated cases, where individuals suffering from rheumatism have been cured of that complaint after having been severely stung by the hive-bee. We do not recommend this form of hypodermatic injection, but prescribe for rheumatic conditions with blanched puffiness, and the peculiar stinging pain, as follows: Rx Specific apis, gtt. v; aqua, fl℥iv. Mix. Teaspoonful every 2 or 3 hours. Dose: Tincture of apis, to 5 drops; specific apis, 1/10 to 2 drops. The larger doses in dropsies; the smaller, in cutaneous disorders, and in vesical irritation; infusion (12 to 20 bees, aqua, Oj), tablespoonful doses frequently.
Specific Indications and Uses.—Itching, with burning of the surface, especially of the genitalia or urinary passages (Scudder); hot, dry, burning, itching or stinging surface; puffiness of mucous tissues, with burning, stinging, or irritation, the parts appearing as if stung; hives; vesical and urethral irritation, with constant desire, but inability, to urinate, the urine being deep-red; puffiness of parts with tendency to oedema.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.