If I could have have just one homeopathic remedy on-hand for acute emotional stresses, it would be Ignatia amara. From grief to homesickness to disappointment, this remedy is indispensable for many of life's emotional stresses.
Like all homeopathic remedies, Ignatia works by stimulating the body to fix whatever is wrong, be that on the emotional, mental, or physical level. Rather than suppressing symptoms like conventional medicines do, homeopathic remedies actually work with the body to heal the underlying problem. In the wake of an emotional stress, Ignatia can help the body and emotions become re-balanced, just as they should be.
Ignatia is known to help with the following types of emotional stress:
Grief, such as after the death of a loved one or pet
Heartbreak or relationship troubles
Disappointment or failure
Hearing bad news
Worrying about a loved one, such as following a specific event such as a car crash or medical diagnosis)
Symptoms That Often Point to Ignatia
Some of the symptoms that may be present when a person will benefit from Ignatia include the following. These symptoms do NOT have to be present in order for Ignatia to be indicated, as they represent just a few of the many possible symptoms that can indicate Ignatia.
Sighing and/or yawning
Sensation of lump in throat or stomach
Mood swings or alternations/mingling of tears and gaiety
Unexpressed emotions (silent, withdrawn)
Paradoxical symptoms (sore throat relieved by swallowing, toothache relieved by chewing, etc.)
Any symptoms that appear in the wake of an emotional stress (grief, heartbreak, loss, etc.)
Success With Ignatia for Emotional Stresses
Some examples of using Ignatia for acute emotional stress from the homeopathic literature include the following:
"I was called to a young girl who during several weeks had vomited frequently and who was rapidly losing strength and weight. She told me that she had no pain in the stomach or anywhere else... Her illness had followed a grave mental upset. Since then she would not speak to anyone, had become very morose, and she wept often. These happen to be the leading symptoms of Ignatia. She was therefore given... Ignatia..., and immediately the vomiting came to an end, and the girl lost her melancholy disposition and became perfectly normal." [Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12]
"One thin, nervous, alabaster-pale girl of twelve, suffering from growing pains in the legs, had not been placed in the honor section of her class. High expectations of herself had been cultivated by her parents, so she was mortified and began to feel an aversion to everything connected with her school... a dose of Ignatia... was prescribed. Shortly afterwards, one evening at dinner, she volunteered, 'You know, I'm really glad I didn't make the fast track in school. Now I have more time for extracurricular activities. I've signed up for drama and glee club, and I think I'm going to love them!' Thus, instead of brooding on her failure... she cheerfully and confidently went on to something else." [Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2]
"Another Ignatia-requiring situation is homesickness, as was perceived in the case of the ten-year-old... boy at camp, who begged his mother to please let him come home... The ... mother sent her son some Ignatia instead, to be taken twice a day until he felt better. After several days, there were no more pathetic phone calls and the parents received a bracing postcard: 'The food here is wonderful, the activities are just great, and my cabin leader is a real neat guy!' " [Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types]
In my own family, Ignatia has worked well for various emotional stresses in daily life. One such example was a couple years ago, when one of my daughter's chickens was taken ill. That same night, my daughter was suddenly ill, with a high fever and by the following day she was quite ill. Ignatia proved to be the right remedy for her, and quickly cleared up her acute illness. On subsequent questioning, my daughter told me that she had been worried that her chicken was going to die.
Since then, there have been several other times when my daughter has felt grief over animals dying, and I've been able to give her Ignatia earlier before any physical symptoms have developed. I've used Ignatia for myself, as well, at times when I've had large disappointments that I kept dwelling on, and other times when there has been loss or grief. Each time, Ignatia has allowed me to quickly get out of the rut I was becoming mired in, and re-normalize my emotional state.
Dosage and Potency Guidance
I generally use homeopathic Ignatia in the 30c potency for treating acute emotional events. When used very soon after the precipitating event, typically only one dose is needed for the body to restore balance. When there has been a time lapse between the event and the usage of Ignatia, sometimes more than one dose is needed.
With all homeopathic remedies, the least number of doses is always the best. Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body to heal itself. Anytime there is a noticeable improvement, no more doses should be given unless the symptoms start to regress (or unless there is a plateau, where the symptoms get better to a point but then stop improving). And if no improvement is observed within 3 doses of taking a remedy, the remedy should be discontinued.
While Ignatia typically works quite well for treating acute emotional events, in cases of long-standing feelings of grief or loss the selection of the appropriate remedy is typically more complex. Ignatia might still be helpful in those instances, but often the chronic state will instead morph into needing a different remedy such as Natrum mur, Phosphoric acid, or Aurum metallicum.
 Vithoulkas, George, Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12, pp. 2677-2723, International Academy of Classical Homeopathy, Alonissos, Greece 2009.
 Coulter, Catherine R., Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2, pp. 107-151, North Atlantic Books, California, USA 1988.
 Coulter, Catherine R., Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types, pp. 163-168, Ninth House Publishing, West Virginia, USA 2001.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed healthcare professional. I am a homeopathic practitioner whose services are considered complementary and alternative by the state of New Mexico. The uses of homeopathic remedies described herein are provided for educational use only.
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