Ignatia Amara. Strychnos ignatia.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Bean of St. Ignatius.

Strychnine, brucine.
Specific Medicine Ignatia. Dose, from one-sixth to one half minim. Prescribed from five to fifteen drops in four ounces of water, a teaspoonful every two hours.
Fluid Extract of Ignatia. Dose, from one to ten minims.
Tincture of Ignatia. Dose, from five to twelve minims.

Physiological Action—The remedy presents the peculiarities of nux vomica to a great extent. In its therapeutic action it is prescribed under much the same conditions, but is a milder remedy. It seems to have less nerve irritating properties and an efficient nerve tonic influence.

Specific SymptomatologyIgnatia is applicable if there is a tendency to mental disorder, with suffocative hysterical symptoms. Also where there is present the globus hystericus and nervous headache in feeble women with sleeplessness. It is applicable at the age of puberty during the establishment of the menses, also at the menopause, when the characteristic symptoms of nerve irritation are present. All the nervous symptoms are accompanied with weakness and general inappetence, where the patient considers her condition very serious, and her chances of recovery very slight.

Further symptomatology is dragging pains in the lower bowels, colicky pains with the menstruation, sexual frigidity, sterility, and impotence. Muscular twitchings of the face and eyelids, dullness of hearing depending upon the general weakness, and burning in the bottoms of the feet.

A prominent writer states that nux vomica and ignatia are not interchangeable, though chemically and botanically similar. Ignatia is primarily a spinal remedy. It seems to intensify the impressionability of all the senses. When the excitability is exhibited by anger, vehemence and irascibility, nux vomica is indicated.

When there is melancholy, with a tendency to weep, ignatia is indicated, and with the melancholy the patient hides his or her grief and nurses their sorrows, trying to keep them covered up. The patients sigh and weep, when alone, are very sensitive and easily irritated, but do not disclose their irritation. They have but little appetite, have considerable pressure on the top of the head, and are inclined to renew their grief over causes long passed.

In hysteria, these patients will alternately laugh and cry. The laughing becomes spasmodic, and there is cramping in the hands and chest. These cramps may be mistaken for convulsive paroxysms, especially as they may be followed by unconsciousness. But in these, it will be noticed that the spasms of the bands, will be readily relaxed on pressure or the patient will move the hand voluntarily. The patient recovers with long-drawn sighs. When the globus hystericus is alarming in this class of patients, give ignatia.

While it relieves all the above symptoms, it will also relieve the hiccough, the flatulent distention and disorders of the stomach and intestinal tract that are often present, with the above phenomena. It overcomes the pain of intercostal neuralgia, and the acute pain in the head common to many of these patients. The remedy has a soothing effect in all cases.

Therapy—Some hysterical women are troubled with aphonia, others with amenorrhea and in others the menses are replaced by a severe leuchorrheal discharge. All these symptoms are benefited by ignatia. These patients are nearly all out of tone. The remedy is a vitalizer and nerve tonic, a restorer of nerve function. The patients are anemic, they have cold skin and cold extremities, and flabby inelastic tissues. There is lack of power of mental concentration. The patient is usually very forgetful.

Usually twenty drops of specific ignatia, in four ounces of water, a teaspoonful from four to six times a day will be a sufficient dose.

This agent is especially applicable to hysterical females with nervous weakness from persistent uterine disorder.

In hysteria the agent is given in small doses where the following specific conditions are present: Dragging pains in pelvis, dysmenorrhea with uterine colic, sexual apathy, congestive headache, burning on the soles of the feet, reduced general strength. It will increase sexual desire.

In nervous depression, from whatever cause, Ignatia in small closes frequently repeated and persisted in will be found an important remedy.

Ignatia is suggested as an excellent remedy for sighing respiration. It acts upon the central nervous forces like nux vomica.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.