Ignatia is a homeopathic remedy that is derived from the bean of a small tree that is native to the Philippine Islands and China. The tree belongs to the Loganiaceae family, and has long, twining, smooth branches. On the branches grows a fruit that is the size and shape of a pear. Inside the fruit are almond-shaped seeds, or beans, that have a fine, downy covering and are blackish gray or clear brown in color.
The Latin name is Ignatius amara, amara being the Latin work for bitter. The bean was named after St. Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish Jesuit who was responsible for bringing the beans to Europe from the Philippines in the seventeenth century. As a result, the beans are often called St. Ignatius beans. The missionaries were introduced to the beans by the locals, who wore the beans as amulets to prevent disease. The bean was then used as a treatment for gout, epilepsy, cholera, and asthma.
The beans contain a substantial amount of strychnine, a bitter substance that is often used in rat poison. Strychnine is fatal to humans if taken in large doses. Small doses cause headaches, loss of appetite, cramps, muscle twitching, trembling, frightening dreams, cold sweat, nervous laughter, and giddiness.
Ignatia is one of the best remedies for conditions brought about by emotional upset such as grief, shock, jealousy, fear, anger, depression, embarrassment, fright, or ridicule. Homeopaths frequently recommend ignatia when the patient is suffering from romantic disappointment or the loss of a spouse, relative, friend, or pet. The remedy helps the patient bear the grief and suffering common to emotional upsets.
Suppression of the emotions is the general cause of ignatia complaints. Men and women of all ages may benefit from Ignatia when they are grieving, but Ignatia is particularly well suited for sensitive, delicate women and children. It is recommended for children who develop ailments after being punished, teenagers who are suffering from a lost love, women who have had a miscarriage, and elderly folk who grieve silently. Ignatia is a good remedy for children who suffer from extreme trembling after a fright. Ignatia is frequently prescribed in cases of physical or sexual abuse. Women who suffer from nervousness, confusion, or forgetfulness during their menstrual cycles may also benefit from Ignatia.
Persons who require the interaction of Ignatia are idealistic, introspective, moody, quarrelsome, sensitive to pain, timid, easily startled, weepy, and depressed. As a result of their grief they become fearful, apprehensive, and antisocial. They dislike consolation and desire to be alone. When in the company of others they are secretive and try to hold in their emotions, although they sigh frequently and loudly. When alone, they are prone to frequent bouts of sobbing alternating with nervous laughter. They are conscientious about performing tasks correctly.
Ignatia is a remedy of contradictions. It is used to treat symptoms that are often paradoxical and erratic. For example, symptoms of nausea are relieved by eating, a sore throat is better from swallowing solids, and simple foods are harder to digest than heavier foods. Symptoms may be relieved after passing a hard stool. Lying on the painful side may make the symptoms better. Eating causes the patient to have more hunger. She may crave sour or hard to digest foods. She may also want to remain uncovered when cold. The patient dislikes fresh air and is sensitive to coffee and tobacco.
General symptoms are aggravated by cold air, emotional excitement, mental exertion, sweets, and consolation. They are worse in the morning, evening, night, and before and during menstruation. Symptoms may appear at regular intervals, such as headaches that occur every seven days. Symptoms are improved by warmth and eating.
Ignatia is also used as a remedy for headaches, sore throat, trembling, nervousness, insomnia, heart palpitations, gas, indigestion, weakness, and weeping. Other conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, painful hemorrhoids, or a dry, tickling cough.
The cough is a dry, irritating cough that is often accompanied by a stitching pain in the chest. Suppression of the cough is helpful. The patient is made worse by coughing or lying in bed, and the cough is worse in the evening. Ignatia is often used in the treatment of whooping cough or croup.
The fever is often accompanied by extreme thirst and chills. The patient feels better when uncovered, and is worse in the afternoon.
Headaches typical of Ignatia start gradually and stop suddenly. The pain is gathered in the forehead. The patient may complain of a sensation as if a nail were being driven through her head. Headaches are often caused by emotional upset and are worse in a smoky room.
A sore throat accompanied by stitching pains and a sensation as if there were a lump in the throat is often present as a result of suppressed emotions. The throat is worse in the evening and is better from swallowing.
When indigestion is present, the patient may feel as though her stomach were empty. She may suffer from sour-tasting belches that ameliorate her symptoms.
Ignatia is prepared by grinding the bean into a powder and steeping the powder in alcohol. The mixture is strained and diluted until it becomes a non-toxic substance. It is then succussed to create the final preparation.
During an emotional crisis, take a single dose of 30X or 30C. If the symptoms are unchanged after eight hours, try another remedy. If the dose helps, repeat the dose only when the symptoms worsen. Do not take more than two times a day for three days.
If symptoms do not improve after the recommended time period, consult your homeopath or health-care practitioner.
Do not exceed the recommended dose.
Ignatia may cause insomnia and should be taken in the morning.
The only side effects are individual aggravations that may occur.
When taking any homeopathic remedy, do not use peppermint products, coffee, or alcohol. These products may cause the remedy to be ineffective.
Cummings, Stephen M.D., and Dana Ullman, M.P.H. Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1997.
Kent, James Tyler. Lectures on Materia Medica. Delhi, India: B. Jain Publishers, 1996.