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APIS MELLIFICA; Or, the Poison of the Honey-Bee. Considered as a Therapeutic Agent. By C. W. WOLF, M.D., Ex-District Physician in Berlin, pp. 80. Philadelphia, 1858.

This timely little treatise sets out with a prefatory postulate which, we copy entire :

“Every physician who has spent years of an active life in prescribing for large numbers of patients, is morally bound to publish his experience to the world, provided he is satisfied, in his interior conscience, that such a publication might be useful to the general interests of humanity.”

The publication before us owes its origin to such a conviction, and we proceed to notice some of its more prominent points, arranged, as we find them, under a few practical headings. We take them up separately;

Apis Mellifica is the most satisfactory remedy for acute hydrocephalus of Children?

This statement may be a true one, yet we do not expect of the profession, or even of those who have employed it extensively in this formidable malady, an unqualified assent thereto.

While there is no question of its value in the treatment of some of the varieties of hydrocephalus, we cannot forget or overlook, the pathogenesy and well-known virtues of such remedies as Arsenicum, Hyoscyamus, Hellebore, Belladonna, Mercurius, &c. It is proper to say at the very outset, in relation to this brochure of Dr. Wolf, that the frequency of such broad and unqualified assertions as this one is a serious blemish to his work. Such positive statements; such use of superlative, is the language of enthusiasm, or of deficient reading and experience, rather than of philosophical thought and careful observation. The very spirit of our therapeutics is entirely against the exclusive use of any single remedy in any given disease. The phases of hydrocephalus in children are altogether too various to be covered in their totality, by Apis or by any other drug; and for our own part, if limited to Apis in the treatment of this disease, when found concomitant with teething or cholera infantum, or as the result of mechanical injury, we should expect to lose many cases which homoeopaths are now able to cure with Calcarea, Belladonna, Arnica, &c.

“We hope the profession will proceed to establish definitely the characteristic indications which mark the choice of the Apis in the acute hydrocephalus, in preference to older and better-known remedies. Meanwhile we prefer to consider Apis as a most satisfactory remedy for acute hydrocephalus in children.

Apis is no less efficacious against the higher grades of ophthalmia.

Whosoever is acquainted with the pathogenesy of this drug will recognize its promised value in this direction. The reviewer remembers an early personal proving of the poison, instituted by a little itinerant which inoculated him nicely in the neighborhood of the eyes. Whether the succeeding inflammation belonged to “the higher grades of ophthalmia,” he can not say; but the unprofessional and involuntary proving has prompted the frequent prescription of Apis, against like symptoms. Dr. W. sometimes uses Aconite with the Apis, in the afore-named ailments, in the same manner as for acute hydrocephalus. Nothing is said of the local employment of the latter in ophthalmia.

The use of Apis in chronic ophthalmia, by an old Indian woman, was its first introduction to the profession. It is without doubt a capital remedy, but as Dr. Wolf, is careful to observe, it must prove ineffectual in those cases, where Psora, Sycosis, Syphilis, or drug dyscrasas, exists as a complication.

It is well understood, how commonly these complications are found, especially in children. In the large cities, it is certainly impossible to make a radical cure of the majority of the ophthalmias without Sulphur, Calcarea, Pulsatilla, Silicea, or some other of the prominent Antipsorics.

Apis is the most appropriate remedy for inflammation of the Tongue, Mouth, and Throat.

Under this head our Author writes:

“The more frequently we make use of Apis in the treatment of these very common forms of angina, and of the inflammation of the Salivary glands, which are so closely connected with the other parts of the throat, the more we become convinced by the most striking success, that this drug is by far the speediest, safest and easiest remedy, which we possess for the treatment of these exceedingly common and yet so very distressing affections.”

He also recommends it in the most acute and dangerous form of angina faucium; in hereditary or habitual, and suppurative inflammation; in severe cases, to be given in hourly alternation with Aconite. It will not however, prevent the recurrence of such attacks.

Apis becomes an exceedingly useful Remedy in Consequence of the Specific power which it possesses over the whole internal mucous membrane and its appendages.

Having detailed the symptoms educed by Apis, from “the internal mucous membrane,” we read, page 19:

“Whosoever compares the totality of these effects of Apis, to the symptoms of the prevailing abdominal typhus, will admit that Apis is Homoeopathic to this disease. He will even admit that this Homoeopathicity of Apis, to abdominal typhus extends to the minute particulars of the disease in their totality.”

Our author excuses the Apis in typhus in case of complication with organic disease of the liver, and remarks the only obstacles to cure which he has witnessed have been tuberculosis of the chest, or abdominal viscera, or of both at the same time; of the vaccine virus; and of a tendency to paralysis in persons otherwise ill. Incidentally we are told, page 24 :

“I have found it much more difficult to conquer the vaccine-poison, which I have become satisfied by years of observation, constitutes the most universal and most powerful generator of the typhus, which is prevailing in our age, and which seems unwilling to leave us.

In regard to this last statement, we are satisfied the facts are not yet sufficient to prove its truth.

For a prevailing tendency to paralysis he employs Apis, and Moschus, in alternation.

For an intermittent type, with deficient ”action of the Spleen !”-Apis.

On page 26, we read:

“Observations of this kind, which I have made under the most diversified circumstances, have taught me that Apis is the most sovereign remedy, for all those morbid processes which we designate as intermittent fever.

Here we have something promising; the gist of which confirmed by three years of experimentation without a single failure, is contained in the following paragraph:

“The provings of Apis, show that this drug affects every portion of the nervous system-the cerebral, spinal and ganglionic nerves-and the process of sanguification, in the same general and characteristic manner, as is the case in fever and ague.”

One thing is very certain in this connection, which is that the provings of Apis, as quoted by Dr. Wolf, by no means cover more than a small portion of the symptoms attaching to Intermittents as we have met with them.

As we proceed, we find the broad statement thus made, is very much lessened in its all-embracing character, by the very candid admissions of its inutility which follows. There are several pages devoted to this subject, abounding in suggestions which the faculty may improve. We may not quote at length, but subjoin an extract from page 30:

“I am unable to say whether Apis will prove effectual against epidemic marsh-intermittents, and if so, how the use of it will have to be modified. May it please those who can shed light on this subject, to communicate their experience!”

“Two other exceptions to Apis as a universal febrifuge, have occurred to me in my practice; the development of fever and ague in poisoned soil, and fever and ague complicated with China-Cachexia.

Inveterate and disorganizing intermittents, he thinks, demand an anti-psoric. Natrum Mur. 30 filled this indication, and, given with the Apis, recovery was so thoroughly established that no relapses ever took place, and no secondary diseases were ever developed.

In these cases in which Nat. Mur. was used, the question naturally presents itself, whether the anti-psoric or the Apis should have the credit of the cure.

“Apis is likewise in curative rapport with the typhoid-gastric conditions which develop themselves during the course of an erysipelatous or exanthematous cutaneous affection, more particularly Scarlatina, Rubeola, Measles and Urticaria.

The profession are doubtless prepared to subscribe to the value of this “Statement,” and also to much that is said by our Author in its support.

In Dysentery Dr. W. considers the Apis an invaluable remedy, and talks, on page 65, of

“Cutting short the disease with a globule of Apis 3rd. so that the patient feels easy, and sleeps quietly.”

This appears extravagant, but then,

“If this should not take place in three hours, owing to the advanced state of the disease, another dose of Apis is required, after which the patient soon feels well, etc. etc.

Over another leaf, in speaking of the treatment of epidemic Cholera, there occurs this remark:

“As far as my personal observations go, I am disposed to affirm that the best mode of effecting a good result, is to give Apis 3. and Aconite 3. in alternation, &c. &c.”

The monograph before us concludes with the use of Apis, in diseases of the respiratory organs. Upon this subject we find nothing new, and it only remains to express in general terms our appraisement of the whole effort.

It is a reputed fact in psychology, that by being too much absorbed in a limited field of investigation, the mind is narrowed in perception and gradually rendered incapable of wider trains of reasoning. So in medicine, from the too close consideration and study of specialities, there grows the whole crop of Specifics.We hope no Homoeopath will try to make a hobby of this remedy. It is quite too valuable to be sentenced into, and out of life as suddenly as are most specifics; and here, as elsewhere in this world, it is not well to be in haste to sacrifice old friends for new. We can hardly think sufficient importance has been given to the employment of Apis, in many of those cases in which Pulsatilla, though seemingly indicated, has failed to effect a perfect cure. We allude to those diseases, so common among our women, dependent upon ulceration and engorgement of the os-uteri.

The tincture of Apis Mel. has certainly produced in two individuals who have come under our notice, a series of symptoms, both objective and subjective, which are sufficient, to convince us of the great value of this drug, in diseases of the womb and vagina.

We cannot close without expressing in the warmest manner, our sense of the obligation which we, in common with the rest of the profession, are under to Dr. Wolf, and to all others of our own, or of any other School, who write monographs on individual remedies. We are fully convinced that it is by this means, rather than by treatises on disease, that, our art is to be advanced. To the Homoeopathist, particularly, belongs the duty of evolving the peculiar properties and uses of remedies, since in this work, we can hope for but slight assistance from the Allopathic school. Other branches of the art, Anatomy, Obstetrics, and Surgery have advanced, and are still rapidly advancing in their hands, but the department of Therapeutics is emphatically our own. On this account, our warmest thanks are due, to those who extend the foundations of our knowledge, by the provings of new drugs, and by the reproving of old ones; but in an especial manner, should we be grateful to those, who, with the strong analytical genius and generally accurate powers of generalization possessed by Dr Wolf, devote themselves to the study of individual remedies, and by examining and combining the import of the various symptoms, show us the characteristic action, and thus, the very nature of the drug.

We trust that Dr. Wolf, will favor us with similar monographs on many other of our remedies; and that his example will stimulate others to take up the same work. The period for polemics is very nearly passed, and Homoeopathy now requires development, rather than defense, and Dr. Wolf and other monographists on individual remedies are using the best means for its extension.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 01, 1858, pages 27-33
Description: Review of Apis Mellifica or Poison of the Honey-Bee considered as a Therapeutic Agent, by C. W. WOLF.
Remedies: Apis mellifera
Author: Ludlam, R.
Year: 1858
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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