Ergot: Ergot could be called a "cereal killer" for it comes from cereals such as rye and wheat and is quite capable of killing someone. A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that contaminates rye and wheat produces substances (alkaloids) termed ergotamines.
Ergotamines constrict blood vessels and cause the muscle of the uterus to contract. They have been much used and been very useful for the treatment of migraine. They have also been used and misused as abortifacients (agents of abortion).
In excess, however, ergotamines can cause symptoms such as hallucinations, severe gastrointestinal upset, a type of dry gangrene, and a painful burning sensation in the limbs and extremities.
Chronic ergot poisoning (ergotism) was rife during the Middle Ages due to the consumption of contaminated rye. Because of the burning pain, it was known as "ignis sacer" (holy fire), "ignis infernalis" (hell's fire) and St. Anthony's fire.
For more about this fascinating disease, see our article on St. Anthony's Fire -- Ergotism .
Library > Literature & Language > Dictionary ( Ã»r ' gÉ™t, -gÅt ' ) n. A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that infects various cereal plants and forms compact black ...
Index of articles, click here. Ergot, a pathogenic rye fungus with important therapeutic potential. By Serge Kreutz Version 2.1, Luxembourg City, 20.
Ergot of Rye - I: Introduction and History. Introduction. Ergot of Rye is a plant disease that is caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea. The so-called ergot that replaces ...
ERGOT - Symptoms, signs, disease cycle and control in small grain crops and grasses; Effect, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control in animals
Information about Claviceps ergot including basics, effects, dosage, history, legal status, photos, research, media coverage, and links to other resources.