Ignatia is frequently required and is especially suited to sensitive, delicate women and children; to hysterical women. You will not cure the natural hysterics with Ignatia, but you will cure those gentle, sensitive, fine fibred, refind, highly educated, overwrought women in their nervous complaints with Ignatia when they take on complaints that are similar to such symptoms as come in hysteria.
The hysterical diathesis is one that is very singular and difficult to comprehend. But a woman, when overwrought and overexcited and emotional, will do things that she herself cannot account for. She will do things as if she were crazy in her excitement. Will do things she regrets, while the hysteric is always glad of it.
No matter how much foolishness there is in it she has only made an exhibition that she is proud of. But our efforts go out for those who imitate them unconsciously. Those who will to do well.
A woman has undergone a controversy at home. She has been disturbed, is excited, and goes into cramps, trembles and quivers. Goes to bed with a headache. Is sick. Ignatia will be her remedy. When she has great distress; unrequited affections. A sensitive, nervous young girl finds out that she has misplaced her affections; the young man has disappointed her; she has a weeping spell, headache, trembles, is nervous, sleepless; Ignatia will make her philosophical and sensible. A woman loses her child, or her husband. A sensitive, delicate woman, and she suffers from this grief. She has headaches, trembles, is excited, weeps, is sleepless; unable to control herself. In spite of her best endeavors, her grief has simply -torn her to pieces. She is unable to control her emotions and her excitement. Ignatia will quiet her and tide her over the present moment. In all of these instances where all of these conditions brought on from such troubles keep coming back, where your patient dwells upon the cause, and the state keeps recurring, upon them, Natrum mur. will finish up the case. It will nerve her up and help her to bear her sufferings. Especially useful in constitutions that have been overwrought at school, in science, music, art. Of course, it is natural for very sensitive girls to go into the arts, such as music, painting, etc. A daughter conies back from Paris after a number of years close application to her music. She is unable to do anything. She flies all to pieces. Every noise disturbs her. She cannot sleep nights. Excitable, sleepless, trembles, jerks, cramps in the muscles; weeps from excitement, and from every disturbing word. Ignatia will tone her up wonderfully. Sometimes it will complete the whole case. But especially in these oversensitive girls is Natrum mur. very commonly the chronic. It is the natural chronic of Ignatia. When the troubles keep coming back, and Ignatia conies to a place when it will not hold any longer.
Another place where Ignatia and Natrum mur. run close together. A sensitive, overtired girl, after she has been working in music, and in art, and in school, and has tired herself out, is unable to control her affections. Her affections rest on someone whom she would despise. That may be a singular thing, one may not be able to understand it. A sensitive girl, though she would not let anyone but her mother know of it, falls in love with a married man. She lies awake nights, sobs. She says, “Mother, why do I do that, I cannot keep that man out of my mind.” At other times a man entirely out of her station, that she is too sensible to have anything to do with, she just thinks about him. Ignatia, if it is very recent, will balance up that girl’s mind. If not, Natrum mur. comes in as a follower. We do not know half as much about the human mind as we think we do. We only know its manifestations. These little things belong to this sphere of the action of this medicine. The one who knows the Materia Medica applies it in its breadth and its Iength, and sees in it that which is similar. Ignatia has quivering in the limbs. Nervous, tremulous excitement.
“Weakness of the body coming on suddenly. Hysterical debility and fainting fits. Fainting in a crowd.” It is especially useful in the tearful, nervous, sad, yielding, sensitive minds. “Jerking and twitching- Convulsive twitchings.” Children are convulsed -in sleep after Punishment. “Convulsions in children in the first period of dentition. Spasms in children from fright.” The child is cold and pale, and hasa fixed staring look, like Gina. “Convulsions with loss of conscious_ ness. Violent convulsions. Tetanic convulsions. Tetanus after fright. Emotional chorea. After fright, or grief.” Choreic girls. Emotional epilepsy, or epileptiform manifestations. Paralytic weakness. “Great mental emotion.” Nursing; night watching. A loss of one arm with as perfect paralysis as if it had come from a cerebral haemorrhage. In a few hours this passes off, and the arm is as well as ever. That is a hysterical paralysis. “Numbness of one or the other arm. Tingling and prickling in the arm.”
Ignatia is full of surprises. If you are well acquainted with sickness, well acquainted with pathological conditions and their manifestations, you are then able to say whether you should or should not be surprised. You are then able to say what is natural, what is common to sickness. In Ignatia you find what is unnatural, and what is unexpected. You see an inflamed joint, or an inflamed part where there is heat, redness, throbbing, and weakness; you will handle it with great care for fear it will be painful. Ordinarily you have a perfect right to expect it would be painful. But you find it is not painful, and sometimes ameliorated by hard pressure. Is not that a surprise? You look into the throat. It is tumid, inflamed, red; the patient complains of a sore throat and pain. Naturally you will not touch it with your tongue depressor for fear it will hurt. You have every reason to suppose that the swallowing of solids will be painful. But you ask the patient when the pain is present, and the patient will say: “When I am not swallowing anything solid.” The pain is ameliorated by swallowing anything solid, by the pressure. It pains all other times.
Mentally, the patient does the most unaccountable and most unexpected things. Seems to have no rule to work by, no philosophy, no soundness of mind, and no judgment. The opposite of what would be expected, then, will be found. The patient is better lying on the painful side. Instead of increasing the pain, it relieves the pain. “Pain like a nail sticking into the side of the head.” The only comfort that is felt is by lying upon it, or pressing upon it, and that makes it go away.
The stomach is just as strange in its indigestion. Some day or other you will have a queer patient, vomiting everything taken into the stomach, and you will have her try gentle food, a little toast, and the simplest possible things, because she has been vomiting for days and people begin to worry about it for fear she will starve to death. You try this, and you try that, and she can keep nothing down. Finally she says, “If I could only have some cole slaw and some chopped onions, I think I could get along all right.” It is a hysterical stomach, and the patient eats some raw cabbage and some chopped onions, and from that time on she is well. Those strange things that are ordinarily hard to digest ameliorate the nausea rather than increase it. While milk and toast, and delicate things, and warm things, such as are usually taken, disturb the stomach and increase the nausea. Cold food is craved, and cold food will be digested when warm food will be disturbing and create indigestion.
The cough has similar features in it. An irritation will come in the throat, as a rule, that is why people cough. People cough from smarting in the larynx and trachea, from irritation, from tickling, and from a sensation of fullness or a desire to expel something, and this is better by coughing. But when the irritation in the larynx and trachea comes in the Ignatia patient you have the unexpected again; because the more she coughs the more the irritation to cough is observed, until the irritation is so great and the cough is so great that she goes into spasms. It has been known of an Ignatia patient, that the more she coughed the greater the irritation to cough, and she was drenched with sweat, sitting up in bed with her night-clothes drenched, gagging and coughing and retching, covered with sweat and exhausted. When you are called to the bedside of such a patient, don’t wait. You cannot get her to stop coughing long enough to say anything to you about it, only you will see the cough has grown more violent; Ignatia stops it at once. Without any provocation whatever a spasmodic condition will come on in the larynx. Any little disturbance, a mental disturbance, a fright, or distress, or a grievance, will bring a young, sensitive woman home and to her bed, and she will go on with a spasm of the larynx. It is a laryngismus stridulus that can be heard all over the house. Ignatia stops it at once (Gelsemium, Moschus).
Nervous affections and troubles of all sorts come on at the menstrual period. The mind is always in a hurry, in a state of excitement. No one can do things rapidly enough. The memory is untrustworthy. The mind flies all to pieces. It is a sort of confusion. No longer able to classify the things that have been classically put into the mind. Cannot remember her music, and her rules, and her scholastic methods. They have all vanished, and she is in a state of confusion. She is a worn-out, nervous person.
Then come fancies, vivid fancies, that are like delirium. Without fever, without chill. Just after excitement. She -comes home from some great disturbance of her emotions, and goes into a state that, if looked upon, per se, would appear to be a delirium such as appears in a fever. But upon close examination it is not a delirium. It is a momentarily hysterical excitement of the mind, in which the balance is lost, and she talks about everything. Sees every manner of thing; it is a hysterical insanity, because after she rests or the next morning it has vanished. But these spells come oftener and oftener after they have once begun, and she gives way to them easier and easier, and, if they are not remedied, she becomes a lunatic, a confirmed mental wreck, so that excitement, grief, insanity, all intermingle together as cause and effect. These come first at the menstrual period, and then they come at other times, until they come from every little disturbance. Whenever she is crossed or contradicted. “She desires to be alone and to dwell on the inconsistencies that come into her life. Sits and sobs. At times she is taciturn; again, she prattles and is loquacious, and talks to herself.” She comes into a state in a little while where she delights to bring on her fits and to make a scare. The natural hysteric is born with that, and Ignatia will do her no good. But when this is brought on from conditions described, Ignatia is of the greatest benefit. It runs closely along by the side of Hyoscyamus. “A feeling of continuous fright, or apprehensiveness that something is going to happen.”
With all these mental states she has a feeling of emptiness in the stomach and abdomen. Emptiness and trembling. “Melancholy after disappointed love, with spinal symptoms.” “Great grief after losing persons or objects very near. Trembling of the hands disturbs her very much in writing. Dread of every trifle.” She goes into a state where she is utterly unable to undertake anything, even to write a letter to a friend.
The Ignatia patient is not one that has been a simpleton, or of a sluggish mind or idiotic, but one that has become tired, and brought into such a state from over-doing and from over-excitement. From going too much. If rather feeble in body, from too much social excitement. Our present social state is well calculated to develop a hysterical mind. The typical social mind is one that is always in a state of confusion. Asks questions, not waiting for the answer. A good many remedies have this state; a lack of concentration of mind, that is what it is, but this is a peculiar kind of lack of concentration of mind. Dread, fear, anxiety, weeping, run through the remedy. “Sensitive disposition; hyperacute.” Overwrought; intense.
Ignatia has another thing: “Thinks she has neglected some duty.” That is very much like Puts., Hell. and Hyos., only Aurum believes that she has committed a great wrong. “Thinks that she has neglected some duty.” Dwells upon that much. “Melancholy after great grief.”
It is full of headaches, and they are all congestive, pressing headaches, or tearing headaches, or headaches as if a nail were sticking into the side of the head or temple; ameliorated from lying upon it. The headaches are all ameliorated by heat. The patient generally is ameliorated by warmth and aggravated by cold. Wants cold things in the stomach, but warm things externally. Jerking headaches, throbbing headaches, congestive headaches. Headaches in nervous and sensitive temperaments. Those whose nervous system has given way to anxiety, grief or mental work. “Headaches from abuse of coffee, from smoking, from inhaling smoke, from tobacco or alcohol.” Headache from close attention. “Headache ameliorated by warmth and rest; worse, from cold winds and turning the head suddenly; worse when pressing at stool, or from jar, from hurrying, from excitement.” Looking up increases the pain; moving the eyes; worse from noise, from light. “Pain in the occiput; worse from cold, better from external heat. Headache better while eating, but soon after it is worse.”
“Disturbance of vision. Zigzags. Confusion of vision.” Excessively nervous eyes. “Acrid tears. Weeping.”
The face is distorted, convulsed, pale and sickly. Pains in the face. “Violent rending, tearing pains in the face.” Let me put it this way: Some of these overwrought girls that come back from Paris, that I described, overworked in their music, will have violent face-ache, pains in the face, or some other hysterical pains. Others will come back with violent headaches; others with the mental state and confusion; others with all the hysterical manifestations. Prolonged excitement. Musical excesses. Yes, other girls come back fairly crippled with painful menstruation, ovarian pains, hysterical conditions, displacement; prolapsus of the vagina and of the rectum. “Tearing, shooting pains upwards from the anus and vagina up into the body towards the umbilicus.”
Strange antipathies rim through the remedy. It will be impossible for you to ever form any conclusion what one of these sensitive women will think of any proposition-that is presented. You cannot depend upon her being reasonable or rational. It is best to say as little as possible about anything. Make no promises, listen, look wise take up your traveling bag and go home after you have prescribed, because anything you say will be distorted. There is not anything you can say that will please.
Thirst when you would not expect it. Thirst during chill, but none during the fever, if she has a feverish state. It is suitable in intermittent fever. Excitable, nervous children and women with intermittent fever.
Written by James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) and published first in his book "Materia Medica" (1905) James Tyler Kent was an American physician best remembered as a forefather of modern homeopathy.