Add as bookmark

A Case of Apis mellifica

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in arthritis, originally published in issue 21 - August 1997

I would like to share a recent case which came to me a few months ago and which has proceeded elegantly and fascinatingly so far. It concerns a charming self-employed bodywork therapist by the name of Esther. She had been diagnosed as suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in May 1996, having had problems of pain and intermittent swelling and stiffness of the left index finger for many years.

Things took a turn for the worse in August 1996 when Esther's left hand became suddenly and horribly inflamed. Her knuckle joints puffed up hugely and her left middle finger became fixed and bent. The attack settled within a few days but obviously affected her ability to work. She was naturally quite frightened about the implications, should the situation recur.

Sure enough, in November, Esther had another attack, this time more severe than before. Severe pain and inflammation spread from the palm of her left hand to the wrist, pain that was cutting and throbbing in nature. Concerned that she could lose her livelihood, Esther sought help from a rheumatologist who confirmed the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and administered a cortisone injection to the middle knuckle on the left hand. He suggested that she take a regular, so-called "secondline" drug to prevent these debilitating recurrences. Esther felt uneasy about taking medication continuously and decided to "wait-and-see".

In the meantime, she was developing pains in other joints – her left ankle, third and fourth toes on both feet, both shoulders and right knee were all painful at various times. They could be quite red when inflamed. Esther had noticed that her joints were better in cold weather but interestingly, hot bathing did seem to help, especially with the terrible stiffness which followed a period of immobility.

However, when the joints were acutely inflamed, they were worse for hot water and responded with a curious "gritty, stinging" pain.

Esther's general health was good. She admitted to some tiredness but said she felt quite well. Her past history was unremarkable apart from an interesting occurrence at the age of seventeen when she had developed a contact dermatitis on her left index finger which spread to the wrist and disappeared when treated with a potent topical steroid cream.

Esther was neither warm nor cold blooded but expressed a dislike for stuffy rooms. She was quite thirsty but had no strong likes or dislikes when it came to food. As the interview proceeded, she was able to admit that, since her illness, she had become quite depressed, crying easily and also irritable and short-tempered. This was quite unlike her usual temperament, and worried her greatly as it was interfering as much with her healing work as were her joint troubles. All-in-all, she was quite fearful and concerned about her future.

Esther's was a very interesting case for me. The pattern of her joint trouble was that of flitting joint pains, interspersed with severe bouts of inflammation. These inflammatory episodes were centred around an area where she had previously had an eczematous skin rash which settled on steroid treatment. Esther had not linked these events but I felt that the arthritis may well be related to the "suppressed" rash many years earlier. Patients with eczema are well-aware that steroids do not solve the problem of their eczema, they merely calm the eczema down. In fact, as soon as the steroid is stopped, eczema is prone to flare up again, often with more vigour than before! In Esther's case, she did not have a true generalised eczematous condition, but the localised allergy rash that she did have was suppressed very successfully with steroid cream.

In view of the rapid onset and the severity of the pain, as well as the adverse reaction to warm water when acutely inflamed and the "stinging" sensation, I decided to use Apis mellifica, a homeopathic medicine made from honey bees. She received three doses in the thirtieth centesimal potency.

One month later, we met again. Esther said immediately that she was much better in herself. The depression had lifted like a cloud and she felt more positive than she had in months. After the third tablet, a small vesicle like a sting or bite had appeared on the palm of her left hand. This disappeared after about 24 hours!

After another four weeks, Esther was even better. The constant aching in her shoulders and ankle had cleared. Her hands had not flared up and she was able to work full-time with no ill-effects. Her depression was now fully a thing of the past. The only strange thing she had noticed was that she was being plagued by bees! They seemed to make a bee-line for her and she wondered if the medicine she had had could have had this effect!?

The answer to that final question is that I do not know. However, I am sure that the medicine, Apis mellifica has unlocked Esther's case. She may need further doses at intervals but hopefully she will avoid having to take the continuous second-line drugs which her rheumatologist had, quite rightly, recommended. Homoeopathy has helped to get Esther's arthritis under control and, in the process, may have brought back a small temporary dose of the original rash on the hand that started the whole story.

Apis mellifica is known by homoeopaths to be useful in the treatment of illnesses brought on by "suppressed" complaints. According to homoeopathic theory, a disturbance in a person's well-being may manifest itself as a relatively trivial complaint on the most exterior organ, the skin. If this complaint is not allowed to run its course but is instead suppressed by steroids, the original disturbance is, as it were, forced back into the system and may manifest itself later as a more serious condition affecting more internal organs. This cycle is often repeated, leading to more and more serious ill health. Correct homoeopathic treatment is thought to be able to reverse the process, and in doing so, can cause a temporary recurrence of each of the disease stages, normally in reverse order.

This is certainly what seems to have happened for Esther. Whether the Apis is attracting bees is another matter altogether and I suspect we would have to ask the bees for the answer!


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

  • June Sayer Homeopathy

    Training Academy Homeopathy Nutrition Reiki, Distant Learning. Diet, Health Screening, Detox, Stress

top of the page