See also article: Ergotism & Salem, A Witch in the Rye

ST. ANTHONY'S FIRE

Ergot (Claviceps purpea) is a fungus that affects rye and sometimes other grains. Ergot contains lysergic acid, the active principle of the psychedelic drug LSD.

In Medieval times outbreaks of St. Anthony's Fire were common in countries where populations subsisted on rye bread. St. Anthony's Fire is a toxic condition whose symptoms include hallucinations, disorientation, muscle cramps, convulsions, miscarriages, and gangrene and may result in death. It affects both humans and animals.

Some beneficial drugs are also provided by ergot, used to treat migraines, to induce labor and to control uterine bleeding.
 

 

 

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