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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



IGNATIA AMARA

(ign)

Ignatia amara, or, more properly speaking, STRYCHNOS IGNATIA, is a large climbing shrub growing in the Philippine Islands and in Cochin-China. The fruit is spherical or ovoid, about four inches in diameter. Its shell is smooth and brittle, and incloses some twenty or thirty seeds. Its name is attributed to the Jesuits, who called it St. Ignatius' bean, in honor of its virtues. Though chemically and botanically similar to Nux, the Ignatia differs materially from that remedy in symptomatology, and that too despite strong family resemblances.

Ignatia is preeminently a spinal remedy, as is also Nux vomica. Like Nux vomica, it seems to intensify the impressionability of all the senses, perhaps even more than that remedy does. Under Nux, this over-excitability is exhibited by anger, vehemence and irascibility; in Ignatia, by melancholy with tendency to weeping. Now, while there is this melancholy with the tearful mood, yet the patient smothers his or her grief. The Ignatia patients nurse their sorrows, keep them from others; while with Nux vomica, the patients are vehement and angry ; they strike any one who may oppose them; they are so overbearing that one can scarcely live with them. You must separate this melancholy mood of Ignatia from that of Pulsatilla.

The PULSATILLA woman is tearful, sad, and melancholy like Ignatia, but there is not that introspective mood that there is in the Ignatia patient. She makes her grief known to every one who comes near her. She seeks sympathy. She is timid and yielding in her disposition.

We find Ignatia indicated in nervous women who are laboring under grief, especially when of recent origin, particularly if the patient dwells upon her troubles in secret. Such cases then, find relief in Ignatia, if not of long standing.

For the chronic or long-lasting effects of grief, we have PHOSPHORIC ACID. Often where this remedy is indicated, the patient complains of night sweats, not from organic disease, but from sheer exhaustion. She has little or no appetite, and complains of a sensation as of heavy pressure on the top of the head, as though a great load lay there.

Ignatia we find then to be useful for the consequences of grief, and also, by reason of this great sensitiveness to external impressions which it produces, we find it indicated in hysteria, especially when the patient alternately laughs and Cries, in other words, exhibits a changeable mood. The face flushes at every emotion. Sometimes the laughing becomes spasmodic and ends in screams and even spasms of the chest with blueness of the face. We have also globus hystericus or feeling as if a ball were rising into the throat. This is often relieved by belching, while drinking water causes an aggravation of the convulsive action in the throat. The patient may fall into a half unconscious state, with thumbs clenched and face blue as we find under CUPRUM. Finally a sigh and a long-drawn breath announce the return to consciousness. Now let us consider some of the concordant remedies of Ignatia in these hysterical states.

PLATINA is indicated in hysterical women with marked mania.

HYOSCYAMUS is called for when the mental condition of the patient exhibits marked jealousy. She is full of suspicions. She fears that she will be poisoned, and may on that account refuse all food and medicine.

ASAFOETIDA, like Ignatia, has the globus hystericus; flatus accumulates in the abdomen and, pressing up against the lungs, produces oppression of breathing. It is especially useful in hysterical convulsions after suppression of discharges.

MOSCHUS is particularly suited when the patient faints readily. She sits down to her meals and faints dead away from the little extra amount of food taken into the stomach. She also has violent spasms of the chest in which it would seem that she must almost die. She turns blue in the face and foams at the mouth. She may be of scolding disposition and even this causes fainting.

VALERIAN is useful in these hysterical women, when the slightest exertion causes violent headache. They often complain of a sensation as if a string were hanging down into the throat. In the latter part of the evening, they exhibit a tendency to flushes of heat. The slightest pain causes fainting. They complain of a warm sensation rising from the throat into the stomach with the globus hystericus. You will often have to use Valerian for pains which simulate those of rheumatism in the limbs. They are worse while the patient sits and better when she walks about.

NUX MOSCHATA is indicated in hysteria, associated with frequent emotional changes and enormous bloating of the abdomen, after a slight meal. The patient complains of excessive dryness of the mouth even when that cavity exhibits the normal degree of moisture.

BELLADONNA is indicated in hysterical states, when the patient is boisterous and wild, with red face, etc.

The VALERIANATE OF ZINC, I have used for a common symptom of hysterical persons and of nervous persons generally, and that is, what has been termed the fidgets. They cannot sit still, or they must keep the legs in constant motion. I have used it and I do not remember to have failed to cure in a single instance. This uneasiness of the feet is not an uncommon symptom in old cases of uterine disease; I usually give the remedy in the second or third potency.

The headache of Ignatia is usually situated in one spot in the head, just as though a nail were being driven into the spot. Any little mental work, or in fact any work that is irksome or more severe than usual, any strong odor whether pleasant or otherwise, any emotion which would be borne without trouble by one whose nervous system is in a natural state, may bring on this headache. The attack often ends with vomiting. These headaches are often periodical, returning every two days. They often terminate with a copious flow of pale, limpid urine. Several other remedies have this last-named symptom, headache, relieved by copious urination. They are: ACONITE, GELSEMIUM, SILICEA, and VERATRUM ALBUM.

The power of Ignatia to produce increased excitability, renders it useful in spasms, not only of hysterical origin, but also in those occurring in delicate women, who are not hysterical, and also in children. The spasms are excited by emotions, such as fright or fear, E.G., the child after punishment has a convulsion. Then, too, when the child goes to sleep, there is whimpering in the sleep. This, too, Ignatia cures. Under ordinary circumstances the child will get over the trouble without any treatment; but if the child is an extremely delicate one, or if the trouble occurs during the period of dentition, or there is some reason for fearing convulsions or hydrocephalus, Ignatia may prevent a great deal of trouble. During the convulsions, when Ignatia is the remedy, you will find the face pale, or else at times flushed up, but usually deathly pale. There is twitching of individual muscles, those about the eyelids or the mouth, and the child stiffens out. Especially is Ignatia the remedy when the convulsions have appeared after grief, fright, or some violent emotion.

Nervous women in labor may require Ignatia for spasms. These spasms, however, are to be distinguished from those calling for BELLADONNA, STRAMONIUM, etc., by the absence of fever or severe congestion, and from Hyoscyamus by the unconsciousness or mania which the latter causes.

In these convulsions produced by emotions, unless you have perfectly in your mind the distinction between several remedies, you may not make as prompt a cure as you ought. OPIUM, like Ignatia, is a remedy for the sudden effects of emotions. It does little or no good for the protracted effects. It, too, is worse after punishment, fright, or fear. The body stiffens out, and the mouth and the muscles of the face twitch. Thus far, it is exactly like Ignatia. The distinction lies in this particular : Under Opium, the face is dark red, and bloated. The spasms are usually associated with loud screams, more frequently so than under Ignatia.

GLONOIN produces sudden violent congestions to the head as does Opium. Like Opium and Ignatia, it may be used for the sudden effects of violent emotions. In the convulsions, the fingers are spread asunder and extended, a symptom which you also find under SECALE.

VERATRUM ALBUM also suits for convulsions after sudden violent emotions. But you find the face cold and blue, with cold sweat on the forehead.

HYOSCYAMUS has sudden starting and twitching of the muscles, more so than Ignatia; one arm will twitch and then the other. The motions are all angular. There is a great deal of frothing about the mouth. The patient seems to be wild.

BELLADONNA is probably more frequently indicated than any other remedy for convulsions following violent emotions, anger, etc., with bright red face, wild straining eyes, hot head, and spasms of the glottis.

OPIUM is probably the best remedy when, from fright of the wet-nurse, the child gets retention of urine.

CUPRUM is indicated in convulsions where the fingers are clenched. There is marked blueness of the face and mouth. Any attempt to swallow fluids causes gurgling in the throat.

CHAMOMILLA is useful in convulsions of children after any emotion. It is easily distinguished from Ignatia by the petulant angry disposition of the child. One cheek is red and the other pale, and there is hot sweat about the face and head.

There is a sore throat curable by Ignatia. The patient complains of a sensation as though there was a plug in the throat, worse when not swallowing. Examining the tonsils, you find them studded with small superficial ulcers having a yellowish-white color. There is a constricted feeling about the throat with a great deal of nervousness and insomnia.

IGNATIA may be used in chills and fever when there is thirst during the chill and when the warmth of the stove or artificial heat relieves the chill. That is not a common symptom. This is very diiFerent from NUX VOMICA, which finds no relief from covering up or from the heat of the stove.

The action of Ignatia on the genital organs must also be mentioned, as we find it indicated in dysmenorrhoea, associated with what is termed menstrua) colic, that is when there is a great deal of bearing down in the hypogastric region. The patient exhibits hysterical symptoms. The pains are of labor-like character, and are seemingly relieved by pressure, by lying down, and by change of position. The menses are dark.

The nearest remedies here are, first, COCCULUS INDICUS. This has uterine spasms and dark menstrual flow ; but the backache always enables you to differentiate this drug from others. It has a weak, lame feeling in the small of the back, as though the patient were about to be paralyzed. The limbs tremble when the patient begins to walk. In addition to this, she often complains of a feeling of emptiness, or hollowness in various cavities of the body, especially in the chest and abdomen.

PULSATILLA is at times to be used for this menstrual colic, particularly when the menses are dark in color and delayed. The flow is usually fitful. The patient is apt to be chilly; and the more severe are the pains, the more chilly does the patient become.

CHAMOMILLA is a third drug similar to Ignatia in uterine spasms. It is indicated by the mental symptoms. The patient is very cross, can scarcely answer any one civilly.

I would like you to remember also MAGNESIA MUR., which is indicated in uterine spasms accompanying induration of the uterus, whether of a scirrhous nature or not.

ACTEA RACEMOSA is called for in uterine spasms when the pains fly across the hypogastrium from side to side.

In disorders of digestion Ignatia is useful when the patient complains of the presence of a bitter or sour-tasting mucus in the mouth and copious salivation. He has marked aversion to certain foods. Food may be regurgitated. Gastralgia is present. He has hiccough, aggravated by eating and smoking; and, especially in children, by emotions. There is an empty, gone feeling at the epigastrium, with qualmishness. In some cases there is empty retching relieved by eating. The patient vomits at night the food taken in the evening. The bowels are disordered.

HYOSCYAMUS is one of our best remedies for hiccough occurring after operations on the abdomen.

STRAMONIUM and VERATRUM ALBUM for hiccough after hot drinks, and ARSENICUM and PULSATILLA after cold drinks.

TEUCRIUM MARUM VERUM is useful in hiccough after nursing.

Ignatia is useful in prolapsus ani, which may or may not be accompanied with haemorrhoids. You have as a characteristic symptom sharp stabbing pains shooting up into the rectum. This prolapsus ani may annoy the patient, even if there is soft stool. There is constriction at the anus, aggravated after stool, and better while sitting.

Ignatia produces quite a variety of symptoms referable to the eye, making it a useful remedy in several diseases of that organ. Like AGARICUS, it has nictitation of the eye-lids, with spasmodic action of the facial muscles. There are neuralgic pains about the eyes. These are exceedingly severe and are often associated with the GLOBUS HYSTERICUS. Ignatia may also be used in phlyctenular ophthalmia, when there is intense photophobia and a feeling of sand in the eyes.

The toothache of Ignatia is worse between than during acts of eating. Now this is in perfect harmony with the throat symptoms of the drug ; that is, there is a feeling as of a lump in the throat which is not felt DURING but BETWEEN the acts of deglutition. The lump (?) may feel sore while swallowing but it is felt more markedly between acts of deglutition. This symptom has led to the selection of Ignatia in aphthous sore-throat (the tonsils being swollen and studded with white flat patches), and even in diphtheria.

ZINCUM holds a very peculiar relation to Ignatia and Nux vomica. It follows Ignatia well while it is inimical to Nux vomica.