Constituents. - Alkaloids .38-.6 p. c.: Ergotoxine, Parahydroxy-phenylethylamine, Isoamylamine, Ergamine, Enzymes (2). Fixed oil 30 p. c, sclererythrin (coloring matter), scleromucin (mucilage); ergotininicacid, clavine, ergotinine, all three more or less inactive; ash 5 p. c. Such names as cornutine, sphacelotoxine, ergotinic acid, etc., only represent indefinite substances and should be abandoned.

Ergotoxine. - This, the essential active constituent, produces the true therapeutic effect of ergot (bluing of the cock's comb, contracting uterus, etc.): it is amorphous, but forms crystalline salts, phosphate, sulphate, tartrate, suitable for hypodermic injection; its presence in the other constituents often contribute its marked properties; action may largely be due to the amino group, in which fresh ergot is richest - just before rye is ripe.

Para-hydroxyphenylethylamine. - This and other amines (ammonia from putrefaction) may stimulate the uterine muscular wall and raise blood-pressure, but serve chiefly as synergists to the action of ergotoxine.

Enzymes. - These (one diastasic, the other hydrolyzing fats) rapidly deteriorate and reduce the physiological activity of ergot that has been dried slowly and imperfectly, forming a rancid, fatty odor (trimethylamine); both enzymes lose hydrolytic power by prolonged keeping or complete drying of the ergot, hence the necessity of proper care in this process.

Fixed Oil. - This is a dark brown liquid containing oleic acid 68 p. c, oxyoleic acid 22 p. c, palmitic acid 5 p. c, sp. gr. 0.925, and when removed by ether or petroleum benzin the ergot retains full alkaloidal strength which remains unimpaired for years if kept with care.

Preparations. - 1. Extractum Ergotae Extract of Ergot. (Syn., Ext. Ergot., Extractum Haemostaticum; Fr. Extrait d'Ergot de Seigle; Ger. Extractum Secalis cornuti, Mutterkornextrakt.)

Manufacture: Percolate 100 Gm. with purified petroleum benzin q. s. to remove fixed oil, discard benzin percolate, dry ergot, moisten with 85 p. c. alcohol 40 Ml. (Cc.) + hydrochloric acid 1 Ml. (Cc.), macerate, percolate with 85 p. c. alcohol until exhausted, reclaim alcohol, evaporate residue at 70° C. (158° F.), frequently stirring, to pilular consistence. Dose, gr. 2-10 (.13-.6 Gm.).

2. Fluidextractum Ergotae. Fluidextract of Ergot. (Syn., Fldext. Ergot., Fluid Extract of Ergot; Br. Extractum Ergotae Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide d'Ergot de Seigle; Ger. Extractum Secalis cornuti fluidum, Mutterkornfluidextrakt.)

Manufacture: Moisten, macerate for 6 hours in tightly-covered container 100 Gm. with enough 1st menstruum (diluted alcohol 98 Ml. (Cc.) + hydrochloric acid 2), pack, macerate, percolate, proceeding with 2nd menstruum (diluted alcohol) until exhausted; reserve first 85 Ml. (Cc.), reclaim alcohol from remainder, evaporate to soft extract, which dissolve in the reserve, mix thoroughly, add 2nd menstruum q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.). Dose, xv-60 (1-4 Ml. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Preps.: Aqueous Extract (chloroform water q. s., + alcohol 100), 200 p. c Infusion (Br.), 5 p. c, dose, ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc.)). Tincture, 15 p. c Tinctura Ergotae Ammoniata, 25 p. c, dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)). Wine, 20 p. c (fluidextract, + alcohol 5, white wine 75), dose, 3j-3 (4-12 Ml. (Cc.)). Ergotin (Bonjean's - aqueous extract deprived of scleromucin by precipitating with alcohol, filtering, evaporating), dose, hypodermically, gr. 1/4-5 (.016-.3 Gm.).

Properties. - Emmenagogue, ecbolic, parturient, astringent, haemostatic, excitomotor, poisonous. Value depends upon (1) bluing (gangrene of the cock's comb, (2) contracting the uterus, (3) raising the blood-pressure: contracts all unstriped (involuntary) muscle, especially uterus and intestine, expelling their contents. Depresses heart muscle, hence slows pulse, contracts arterioles (haemostatic), thus increasing arterial pressure; diminishes sweat, saliva, milk, urine. In large doses gastro-intestinal irritant, causes nausea, vomiting, colic, thirst, purging, convulsions, "acute ergotism," or by many small doses may have "chronic ergotism;" this last may be in two forms: 1. Convulsive, causing tetanoid spasms of the flexors, respiratory muscles, death by asphyxia. 2. Gangrenous, causing cold, numb limbs, loss of sensibility, gangrene of lower extremities, buttocks, etc., epileptic convulsions, coma, death.

Uses. - In labor to increase the power and duration of uterine contractions; these are continuous while natural labor-pains are intermittent, hence ergot is dangerous in thoughtless hands. Should never be used until after head is born, when it simply promotes firm uterine contraction; it is still wiser to withhold it until after birth, to prevent post-partum hemorrhage and aid uterine contraction (fluidextract 3j (4 Ml. (Cc.)) by mouth or, better, hypodermically). Used also in chronic metritis, dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, fibroids, polypi, plethoric amenorrhoea, atonic spermatorrhoea, atonic arterial hemorrhage (males and females), spinal congestions, splenic enlargement, lax sphincters, incontinence of urine, aneurisms, diabetes. Externally to hemorrhoids.

For hypodermic injection - employ "Ergot Aseptic," or "Ergone," or solid extract deprived of alcohol and dissolved in water - introduce near seat of trouble; results here much better than by mouth; should have bladder and bowels freely open. The ergot formed on grasses is often sufficient to cause grazing animals to abort, and flour made of grain containing much of it will also sometimes act medicinally.

Poisoning: Have gastric disturbance, vomiting, diarrhoea, thirst, burning pain in feet, tingling in fingers, cramps in extremities, dilated pupils, cold surface, dizziness, small and feeble pulse, convulsions. Evacuate stomach (pump, emetics, purgatives), use tannic acid, stimulants, amyl nitrite (inhalation), strychnine, digitalis, friction, hot baths.

Incompatibles: Cardiac and motor depressants (aconite, veratrum, lobelia, etc.), caustic alkalies, metallic salts.

Synergists: Digitalis, belladonna (circulation), strychnine (nerves), ustilago, cotton root bark, hydrastine, emmenagogues.

Allied Plants: