Ignatius Beans

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Ignatius Beans

Botanical Name: Strychnos Ignatii (BERG.)
Family: N.O. Loganiaceae

Synonyms: Faba Ignatic. Ignatia amara (Linn.).
Part Used: Ripe dried seeds.
Habitat: Philippine Islands.

Description: A large woody climbing shrub, introduced into Cochin China, and highly esteemed there as a medicine. It attracted the attention of the Jesuits, hence its name. In commerce the beans are about one full inch long; ovate, a dull blacky brown colour, very hard and horny, covered in patches with silvery adpressed hairs; endosperm translucent, enclosing an irregular cavity with an oblong embryo; no odour; taste extremely bitter. Each fruit contains about twelve to twenty seeds embedded in the pulp from which they have to be separated.

Constituents: The beans have the same properties as Nux Vomica, but contain more strychnine, also brucine, a volatile principle extractive, gum, resin, colouring matter, a fixed oil, and bassorin; they contain no albumen or starch.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Tonic and stimulant in action like Nux Vomica, which, being cheaper, is nearly always used as a substitute. Old writers lauded these beans as a remedy against cholera. They are useful in certain forms of heart trouble, but must be used with the greatest caution, as they are a very active and powerful poison.

Antidotes: Same as for strychnine, chloroform, belladonna, aconite, tobacco, chloral hydrate 1 drachm doses, morphia.

Preparations and Dosages: Tincture of Ignatia, 5 to 20 minims. Alkaline Tincture of Ignatia (syn. Goute Ameres de Beaume), 5 to 20 minims.