Synonyms: Cornezuelo del centeno; Secale Cornutum.
Cyrillic synonym: Спорынья.

💊 Chemical information


Ergot consists of the sclerotium of the fungus Claviceps purpurea (Hypocreaceae) developed in the ovary of the rye, Secale cereale (Gramineae). It contains not less than 0.15% of total alkaloids, calculated as ergotoxine, and not less than 0.01% of water-soluble alkaloids, calculated as ergometrine. Some authorities have expressed alkaloidal content in terms of ergotamine and ergometrine.

💊 Adverse Effects and Treatment

As for Ergotamine Tartrate. Epidemic ergot poisoning, arising from the ingestion of ergotised rye bread, is now seldom seen. Two forms of epidemic toxicity, which rarely occur together, have been described: a gangrenous form characterised by agonising pain of the extremities of the body followed by dry gangrene of the peripheral parts, and a rarer nervous type giving rise to paroxysmal epileptiform convulsions.


A report of an outbreak of ergotism, attributed to the ingestion of infected wild oats (Avena abyssinica), in Ethiopia.1
1. King B. Outbreak of ergotism in Wollo, Ethiopia. Lancet 1979; ii: 1411.

💊 Uses and Administration

Ergot has the vasoconstricting and oxytocic actions of its constituent alkaloids, especially ergotamine and ergometrine (above). A liquid extract or tablets of prepared ergot were formerly used as an oxytocic. Preparations containing ergot extracts have been promoted for use in dyspepsia and nervous disorders.

💊 Preparations

Proprietary Preparations

India: Ergotab.
Published October 28, 2018.