436. IGNATIA, N.F.—ST. IGNATIUS' BEAN. The seeds of Strych'nos igna'tia Lindley, a tree growing in the Philippine Islands, where they are much esteemed as a medicine, and whence they were introduced to the medical world by the Jesuits, who conferred upon them the name of the founder of their order. The fruit is pear-shaped, and contains 10 to 15 of these hard, heavy seeds lying one upon the other and imbedded in a dry medullary mass, but the seeds come into market separate. Their shapes are various, owing to the manner in which they were situated in the fruit; but their general form is ovate, somewhat flattened, and more or less angular. They are about 25 mm. (1 in.) long, but considerably narrower, and have at one end a small depression indicating their point of attachment (hilum). Their testa is of a less silky nature than that of nux vomica, and of a gray-brown color. In commerce they are perfectly smooth, the testa and hairs being removed by the rubbing of the seeds against one another, and therefore the outer surface consists of dull brown or blackish horny albumen, translucent when fresh. The embryo is oblong, situated in the broad end of the seed, the cotyledons extending only about half the distance across the irregular cavity. Inodorous; taste excessively bitter.
CONSTITUENTS.—Same as nux vomica (435) but in different proportions, the strychnine existing to the extent of about 1.2 per cent. against 1/3 to 1/2 per cent. in nux vomica. Ignatia was once used for the preparation of this alkaloid, strychnine, but rarely at the present day, as nux vomica is imported in such large quantities and is a much cheaper source. Dose: 1/2 to 5 gr. (0.0324 to 0.3 Gm.).
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.