Ignatia amara, Strychnos ignatia, Strychnos tieute)
St. Ignatius bean,
bean of St. Ignatius, Ignatius-bean, upas tieute.
Bittere Fiebernuss, Ignasbohnen.
faba ignatii, faba santi ignatii, semen ignatiae.
branching tree, with long, tapering, smooth, scrambling
branches. The leaves are ovate, acute, petiolate, veiny,
smooth, and a span long. Hooks none. Panicles small,
axillary, 3 to 5-flowered, with short, round, rigid
pedicels. The flowers are very long, nodding, white,
smelling like Jasmine. The fruit is smooth, pear-shaped, the
size of an ordinary apple or a Bonchretien pear; seeds about
20, somewhat angular, about 12 lines long, and imbedded in a
pulp. This tree is indigenous to the Philippine Islands. Its
seeds, the St. Ignatius bean of commerce, are about the size
of olives, rounded and convex on one side, and somewhat
angular on the other, pale brownish externally, with a
bluish-gray tint, greenish-brown internally. Their substance
is hard, compact, and horn-like. They are inodorous and of
an exceedingly bitter taste.
Strychnine was first discovered by French chemist
Joseph-Bienaime Caenoiu and Pierre-Joseph Pelletier in 1818
in the Saint-Ignatins'-bean (S.
is a woody climbing shrub of the
Philippines. It was
introduced into Cochin China
and is highly esteemed there as a medicine. It got its name
from the attention it attracted from the Jesuits.
The beans are more costly
than most of other commercial plants and is usually
substituted for this reason.
Folklore had many to
believe that the beans where an effective remedy to cholera.
Indole alkaloids: brucine and its N-oxide, α- and
β-colubrine, diaboline, icajine, novacine, strychnine and
its N-oxide, and 12-hydroxyderivatives, vomicine and others
Historically, the pits of
the S. Ignacio
cured persons who had eaten something poisonous. A small
piece of it, eaten and followed down with cold water,
expelled the poison. It also stopped stomach cramps and the
inflammation of the ileum. It cured lockjaw and helped women
giving birth. Scrapped pieces could be ingested when chills
started in order to lower the fever. Ground into a powder
and placed over the affected area, it cured the effects of
hairy worms called "basut." Sucked as a candy, it eased
arthritic pains and watery discharges due to indigestion.
Cut into strips and fried in oil, it could be massaged into
a paralyzed part of the body. It eased body aches as well.
It appears to possess
an influence over the nervous system of a tonic and
stimulating character, not belonging to Nux vomica or
strychnine. It is never a remedy for conditions of
excitation of the nervous system, but its key-note is
atony; it is the remedy
nervous debility, and all
that that term implies, being one of the best of nerve
stimulants and nerve tonics. It was early recognized as a
nervous debility, amenorrhea, chlorosis,
etc. As a rule, the dose of ignatia administered is too
large, a depressing headache often resulting from its
immoderate use. The preparation mostly employed is specific
ignatia, of which from 5 to 10 drops should be added to 4
fluid ounces of water, and the solution be administered in
teaspoonful doses every 2 or 3 hours. Bearing in mind the
nervous atony, it may be
successfully administered in
anemia, where the patient
is cold, and especially when coldness of the extremities is
one of the distressing features of the menopause. It should
be thought of in anemic states of the brain, and
particularly in those cases where the patient exhibits
It is a remedy for digestive disorders, such as
atonic dyspepsia and
chronic catarrh of the stomach,
with atony, and
sick headache of debility
is relieved by it. Shifting, dragging, boring, or darting
pains, deeply seated in the loins or lumbar region, are
those benefited by ignatia. It is an important remedy in
atonic reproductive disorders.
Eclectics have not found it to be especially adapted to
females only, as have the Homoeopaths declare it the remedy
for women, while nux and strychnine are remedies for men.
Sexual coldness in both
impotence in the male and
sterility in the female
are remedied many times by the judicious administration of
ignatia. The deep-seated pelvic pains of women, particularly
ovarian pains and
uterine colic are
especially relieved by ignatia, which is also indicated in
menstrual disorders with
colic-like pains, heavy dragging of the ovaries, and an
abnormally large and heavy womb. If added to these pelvic
weaknesses, the general nervous system is greatly
debilitated, there are wandering pelvic pains or pain in the
right hypochondrium with constipation,
neuralgia in other parts
of the body, twitching, of the facial muscles, a tendency to
paralysis, and choreic and epileptiform symptoms, associated
with a disposition to grieve over one's condition, the
indications for ignatia are still stronger. But to obtain
beneficial effects the dose must be small.
Specific Indications and Uses:
nervous atony; disposition to grieve; dull, deep-seated,
dragging pain in loins, back, or right hypochondrium;
hysterical, choreic, epileptoid, or hypochondriacal
manifestation, due to debility; dysmenorrhoea, with colicky
pains and heavy womb; sexual frigidity, impotence, and
sterility; wandering pelvic pains; coldness of extremities;
muscular twitchings, particularly of face and eyelids; dull
hearing, due to general atony; nervous depression: burning
of the soles of the feet; congestive headache.
Dosage: 1/20 to 5
drops. ( Usual method of administration: Rx Specific
Medicine Ignatia, 5-15 drops; Water, 4 fluidounces. Mix.
Sig.: One teaspoonful every 1 to 3 hours.)
Ignatia amara is a homeopathic remedy derived from the seeds
of the St. Ignatius bean (Strychnos ignatii), a tree found
in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia.
referred to as "homeopathic Prozac," treats acute stages of
grief, most often resulting from a sudden loss, abuse,
romantic disappointment, or emotional trauma, and the
physical ailments that result. These commonly include
digestive disorders, mood swings, anxiety, headaches,
insomnia, muscle spasms, a lump in the throat, and
has not yet been subjected to modern scientific trials or
research, although it was added to Materia Medica (the
equivalent of the Physician's Desk Reference for homeopathic
medicine) after a successful "proving" in the early 1800s.
(A proving involves giving a particular substance to a
number of patients to find out if it has the desired
effect.) Both Bernardo Merizalde, M.D., a psychiatrist in
Bala Cywnyd, Pa., who has practiced homeopathy for 19 years,
and Todd Rowe, M.D., a psychiatrist and homeopath in
Phoenix, Ariz., have found Ignatia to be effective in about
80 percent of the patients for whom it's indicated.The
seeds of the St. Ignatius bean tree contain strychnine,
which at full strength is highly poisonous. In homeopathic
form, however, the active compounds are so dilute that they
are safe enough even for children and the elderly.
Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of "like
treats like." Homeopaths believe that any substance that
causes certain symptoms in a healthy person can, in highly
diluted doses, cure those same symptoms in the sick. These
very dilute remedies work like vaccinations and allergy
shots, prompting the body's immune system to respond. But
unlike vaccinations, a homeopathic treatment is not the same
for each patient. Homeopathic practitioners study each
patient's lifestyle, personal habits, and temperament, in
addition to their physical symptoms. They then prescribe
remedies that have been individually tailored.Ignatia
is best for patients who have contradictory
symptoms--physical and emotional. You may be full of energy,
but always yawning. You may suffer from mood swings. Or your
aches and pains may feel better from unexpected things--a
sore throat that feels better from eating solid food, for
example. Ignatia best suits nervous, worrisome individuals
with issues of insecurity and difficulty coping. And
according to Rowe, it treats women better than men.
Solvent: The St.
Ignatius bean yields its properties to water, but alcohol is
its best solvent.
Similar properties to
those of Nux Vomica
Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of
Botanical Drugs and Preparations,
R. C. Wren, F.L.S., Saffron Salden, 1985 revision; ISBN:
The Eclectic Materia Medica,
Pharmacology and Therapeutics,
Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., 1922
King’s American Dispensatory,
Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph.
The American Materia Medica,
Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy,
Finley Ellingwood, M.D., 1919.
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