Ignatia amara: characteristics, uses and warnings

Ignatia amara: characteristics, uses and warnings

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L'Ignatia amara, often referable also with the name of St Ignatius bean, is a plant, a climbing shrub that often grows to significant heights. Belonging to the genus Strychnos, has greenish white flowers wrapped in tiny bristles. The fruits of the Ignatia amara shrub are large and contain a yellow pulp, with each fruit containing up to 20 hard oval seeds.

Not everyone knows that this large woody shrub was discovered by French chemists Joseph-Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre-Joseph Pelletier in 1818, during their excursion to the Philippines. The shrub was later introduced to China and several other parts of the world, and is highly valued in this region for its healing properties.

The shrub derives its name from the Jesuits who were attracted to this plant. Cultivated bean varieties have an oval shape and a blackish brown tint. These seeds are not only extremely robust, but also covered with fine silver-colored bristles that lie against the lid. The endosperm of the plant is semi-transparent and contains an asymmetrical cavity with an oblong embryo. The endosperm has no odor and is very bitter to the taste. Every fruit of the Ignatius bean it contains 12 to 20 seeds surrounded by a yellowish pulp. These seeds must be separated from the pulp after harvesting.

But what are the uses of Ignatia amara? And what are the warnings that you should know very well before approaching with too much enthusiasm what is a very potent and toxic natural fruit?

Uses of Ignatia amara

In ancient times i seeds of Ignatius they were used in the preparation of good luck charms and were worn to fortify themselves from various ailments. As discussed above, the Jesuits brought the plant from the Philippines to Europe in the 17th century, and it is generally believed that they named the plant Ignatia amara or St. Ignatius's bean in memory of the founder of the Jesuit order, St. Ignatius of Loyola . Interestingly, bean fruits are also known as "monkey apples", as they are a favorite of monkeys who eat them often. In Malaysia and Java, people extracted the seeds of Ignatius fruits and used them as a poison dart for their guns and also as an arrow poison or cure.

Many people have regularly used St. Ignatius beans as an inexpensive alternative to various remedies, such as those for treating various diseases such as cholera. Today the extracts of the plant they are recommended for treating fever and brain problems such as depression, hysteria and insomnia. Evidently, St. Ignatius beans are mainly used by homeopathic doctors who use this herb in very small quantities or doses due to its intense toxicity.

When used as antidotes, drugs prepared with Ignatius bean extracts work in the same way as chloroform, strychnine, aconite, belladonna, tobacco, morphine and chloral hydrate, and may possess invigorating and stimulating properties, invigorating the vascular and nervous systems.

Read also: Borlotto bean, cultivation and variety

Where is it

As far as their territorial location is concerned, today St. Ignatius beans can be found almost everywhere in the world, even if they are mainly found in the region of Southeast Asia, and even if they are much more common especially in some areas in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Components of Ignatia amara

As discussed above, Ignatius beans possess the same properties as other substances such as nux vomica. However, Ignatius beans pack more amounts of strychnine and burn - the main volatile extracts that are poisonous in nature. Furthermore, Ignatius beans contain a certain amount of resin, rubber, fixed oil, dye and basorin. However, they do not contain any amount of starch or egg white.

In short, components that are obviously capable of representing a very dangerous mix for one's health and, consequently, deserve to be managed with appropriate attention, avoiding recruitment to a considerable extent or, in any case, uncontrolled.


The adequate dose of Ignatius bean depends on numerous aspects, such as the patient's age, state of health and many other conditions. In any case, since it is not a treatment recognized by traditional medicine, it is necessary to pay close attention to the dosages that you could find online: we advise you to avoid over-taking and, for anything, talk to your doctor.

Side effects and precautions

Since Ignatius beans contain two poisonous elements - strychnine and brucine, these elements are often considered not safe for use, especially if it is not done under the supervision of a qualified and competent doctor.

Medicines prepared with Ignatius bean extracts could cause a number of side effects, including anxiety, restlessness, increased reflexes, dizziness, drowsiness, delicate perception of the senses, seizures throughout the body, increased muscle tension, breathing problems, kidney failure. and death.

In addition, the prolonged use of Ignatius beans can cause liver damage, sometimes fatal. Anyone who already suffers from liver damage and taking this drug is at greater risk of toxicity. If this drug is given to pregnant women, it can harm the fetus, while nursing mothers should avoid taking this drug which can pass into breast milk and harm the baby.

Of course, based on the above, the invitation not to use this substance in miraculous do-it-yourself discoveries should be all too evident, because the risk of suffering the most serious side effects is very high.

In order to know more, we therefore recommend that you talk to your doctor, in order to understand what the concrete effects of this substance are on your body and, above all, to be able to find more satisfactory alternative remedies recognized by traditional medicine.

Video: Bipolar Recovery E46: My week taking Ignatia Amara (July 2022).


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