Dr. N. S. Davis of Chicago, who for many years was a professor in the Medical College of Northwestern University, and who was called the Nestor of Medicine in the city of Chicago, said to his class one day, “Gentlemen, you may think that the study of anatomy is a hard study, but you know nothing of hard study unless you have tried to learn homoeopathic materia medica.” Evidently the old gentlemen had tried to master the subject to which he referred and had given it up as a bad job.
The same thing has happened to many other students who, having failed to gain a working knowledge of our materia medica, have made up their minds that homoeopathy was a failure, and have become the worst enemies of our school of practice.
The mastery of homoeopathic materia medica is a long, hard, gruelling task, and in my opinion, no man ever really becomes a master of the subject. The human memory is not capable of retaining all of the symptoms of our numerous remedies, though a good working knowledge of our principle remedies can be gained by the average physician if he will but apply himself diligently to the subject. It will many times require hours of hard study to find the remedy for the individual patient.
In my own experience extending over 45 years of study of materia medica, I have felt many, many times that I had not selected the exact similimum, but having selected the remedy to the best of my ability, and feeling sure that it was prescribed according to the Law of Similars, I have attained better results than my allopathic confreres who had treated the same case.
The homoeopathic method of selecting the remedy is by far the hardest method, but it is infinitely superior to any other way of prescribing. In my opinion, the reason why so many of our homoeopathic graduates give up the practice of homoeopathy, is that they are intellectually lazy. It is too hard work to find the similimum.
I believe that many of our best remedies are greatly neglected by the rank and file of homoeopathic doctors. One such remedy which I have in mind is Ignatia amara. For many years I prescribed Ignatia in a haphazard sort of way, giving the tincture or 2x. or 3x., and without paying much attention to the mental symptoms. Naturally, I obtained rather indifferent results.
The keynote of Ignatia is despondency. The patient is so “blue ” that she doesnt care to live. I will quote from Farringtons Materia Medica. He says:.
Ignatia is preeminently a spinal remedy, as is also Nux vomica. It seems to intensify the impression of all the senses, perhaps even more than that remedy does. Under Nux, this over- excitability is exhibited by anger, vehemence and irascibility; in Ignatia by melancholy with tendency to weeping. Now, while there is this melancholy with a tearful mood, yet the patient smothers his or her grief. Ignatia patients nurse their sorrows, keeping them from others; while with Nux vomica, the patients are vehement or angry; they strike anyone who may oppose them; they are so overbearing that one can scarcely live with them.
You must separate this melancholy mood of Ignatia from that of Pulsatilla. The Pulsatilla woman is tearful, sad and melancholy like Ignatia, but there is not that introspective mood that there is in the Ignatia patient. She makes her grief known to everyone who comes near her. She seeks sympathy. She is timid and yielding in her disposition. We find Ignatia indicated in nervous women who are laboring under grief, especially when of recent origin, particularly if the patient dwells on her troubles in secret. Such cases, then, find relief in Ignatia, if not of long standing.
As Dr. Hawkes says,
Silent grief; suppressed grief; spasmodic laughter and grief. Patient is full of grief. Frequent involuntary sighing, with sensation of goneness or emptiness in pit of stomach. Spasmodic affections of children consequent on being put to bed soon after punishment; seems to be weighed down by suppressed grief; broods over imaginary troubles.
The patient may have convulsive twitchings of muscles of the face. There is apt to be sleeplessness or restless sleep. Dreams of one and the same object the whole night through.
There may be complete loss of appetite with pains in the stomach after eating even a small amount of food, accompanied by gaseous eructations.
Then we must not forget the globus hystericus and the other closely related symptom, the sensation as though there were a ball in the rectum. I have had some very decisive results with the use of Ignatia in treating this last named symptom.
No matter what variety of symptoms the patient may have, if he or she has the characteristic Ignatia mental symptoms, that remedy will alleviate the difficulties, and if not of too long standing, will entirely cure the case. I have proven this many, many times. I get my best results with the 30x. potency.
I wish to mention one case by way of illustration.
Mrs. B. M., age 50 years, came to me complaining of loss of appetite and a severe indigestion with a great deal of gas in the stomach and bowels. Said she could not sleep well, and in fact she did not care to keep on living. This woman had always enjoyed good health and was not of a nervous temperament. She was never hysterical and in fact showed no signs of grief to other people. She was keeping it all to herself. She was suffering from suppressed grief.
Some two or three years previously, her husband had fallen from a tree and broken his back. He was treated in various ways, and operated upon two or three times with no special benefit except to the surgeon. After a great deal of suffering he died a few months previous to the time that his widow called upon me. At first I gave her various nerve remedies which helped as long as she was taking them, but there were no permanent results. Finally I came to the realization that this woman was an Ignatia patient. I gave her Ignatia 30x., one disk four times a day. In about ten days or two weeks she came to my office saying that she felt like a different person in every way. She felt more cheerful, slept well at night, had a good appetite and could eat anything she liked with no distress of any sort. And the cure was permanent.
If your patient is sad, do not forget Ignatia.