Ignatia (Strychnos ignatii)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Ignatia, Ignatia amara, Ignatius bean, Lu Song Guo, Saint Ignatius bean, St. Ignatius bean, Strychnos ignatia.
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. It is used as a homeopathic remedy because of its effects on the nervous system.
Commonly called "homeopathic Prozac," ignatia is often used in treating grief stages. Ignatia was commonly used in the 1800s but has not been studied in modern scientific trials. Although there is little scientific evidence regarding the medicinal use of ignatia, it was added to Materia Medica (book of written descriptions of homeopathic medicines) in the early 1800s.
Chinese doctors have used ignatia for emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. Folk healers also used ignatia to treat headaches, sore throats, coughs, and menstrual problems.
Ignatia is not widely used because it contains strychnine, which can be fatal to humans.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Emotional disorders (emergency use)
Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend homeopathic ignatia for emergency use of emotional disorders. Additional study is needed in this area.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Allergies, anti-inflammatory, anxiety, apprehension, atonic dyspepsia (upset stomach), backaches, bedwetting, belching, bereavement, chills, choking, climacteric symptoms, constipation, coughs, cravings, delusions, depression, faintness, fever, follicular inflammation, gastralgia (stomach pain), grief, hallucinations, headaches, hemorrhoids, hiccups, hysteria, inability to work, indigestion, inflammation, irritability, itching, loss of appetite, menopausal symptoms, menstrual problems, mood swings, mouth dryness, nasal problems, nausea and vomiting, nervousness, oversensitivity to all stimuli, pain, perspiration, placebo alternative, post-partum depression, rectal prolapse (rectum drops down outside the anus), rectal spasms, refresh body function, restless legs syndrome, sensitivity to noise, sleeplessness, sore throat, spasm in vocal cords, spasmodic conditions, sweat, thrush (mouth infection), tonic, trembling, unconsciousness, uncontrollable grief, weakness, weepiness.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for ignatia.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for ignatia in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to ignatia or to a member of the Loganiaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Ignatia is possible safe when used as a homeopathic remedy. However, due to the strychnine content, taking Ignatius bean by mouth may cause restlessness, anxiety, heightened sense perception, enhanced reflexes, equilibrium disorders, painful back and neck stiffness, twitching, spasms of jaw and neck muscles, convulsions triggered by visual or touch stimulation with possible opisthonos (rigid muscle contraction), extreme muscle tension, hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature), seizures, metabolic acidosis (blood is too acidic), fatal cardiac arrest, rhabdomyolysis (degeneration of skeletal muscle), agitation and difficulty breathing after respiratory spasms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned strychnine from non-regulated products in 1989.
Avoid ignatia in patients with liver disease since strychnine accumulates in individuals with liver damage and can cause further damage. Ignatia may also cause myoglobinuric renal failure, and caution is advised in patients with compromised kidney function.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Ignatia is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to toxic effects.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Concomitant use of analeptics (agents that stimulate breathing, heart activity) or phenothiazines (antipsychotic drugs) with ignatia may cause symptoms of ignatia poisoning. Avoid combined use.
Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements
Insufficient available evidence.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Oberbaum M, Schreiber R, Rosenthal C, et al. Homeopathic treatment in emergency medicine: a case series. Homeopathy 2003;92(1):44-47. View Abstract
Wasilewski BW. Homeopathic remedies as placebo alternatives--verification on the example of treatment of menopause-related vegetative and emotional disturbances. Sci Eng Ethics 2004;10(1):179-188. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017