Spurred Rye. Eroota (Pharm. Brit.). Ergot. The Grain of Secale Cereale, Common Rye, diseased by the presence of an imperfect fungus. The same fungus is occasionally developed on other grasses. Ergot contains about 35 per cent. of a fixed oil, formerly supposed to be the active principle, but when obtained by expression this oil is inactive. The active principle is extracted with the oil and remains dissolved in it. Ergot contains about 15 per cent. of a peculiar reddish-brown substance, Ergotine, which possesses active properties. The medicinal virtues of Ergot are extracted by alcohol and water.
* Dub. Med. Phys. Essays, vol. i., p. 146. Brit. Amer. Journ., Dec. 1848.
Garrod, Ess. Mat. Med. and The-rap., p. 315.
Med Prop. and Action. In small (gr. xx. - gr. xxx.) or single doses, the effects of the Ergot on a healthy male adult are not very obvious, beyond causing a dryness of the throat and fauces, thirst, and, occasionally, pain in the abdomen. If taken in large and long-continued doses, it affects the cerebro-spinal system, and induces gangrene of the extremities, &c. The last-named effect is probably due to its causing obstruction in the diminishing their calibre.* On the impregnated uterus, it exercises a most powerful influence; and on the unimpregnated uterus it also appears to exercise, but in a minor degree, a peculiar power; hence it is regarded as emmenagogue. All these points are considered at length in the following sections. It soon loses much of its efficacy if exposed to the air, and it consequently requires to be kept in well - toppered bottles; even thus, it becomes deteriorated by age, and loses much of its efficacy. This is especially the case in the tropics, where the Fluid Extract of Ergot, or the Extract (Ergotinc), may be advantageously substituted for the crude drug.
Offie. Prep. 1. Extractum ErgotAe Liquidum (Ergot in coarse powder lb. j.; Ether Oj.; Distilled Water Oiiiss; Rectified Spirit fl oz. viij. Shake the Ether in a bottle with Oss. of the Water, and, after separation, decant the Ether. Place the Ergot in a percolator, and free it from its oil by passing the washed Ether through it. Remove the marc, and digest it in Oiij. of the Water at 160° F. for twelve hours. Press out, strain, and evaporate the liquor to fl. oz. ix.; and, when cold, add the Spirit. Allow it to stand for an hour to coagulate, then filter. The product should measure fl. oz. xvj.). One of this extract represents a solid part of the drug. Dose, xx. - fl. drm. ss
1/2; Boiling Distilled Water fl. oz. x. Infuse in a covered vessel for half an hour, and strain). Dose, fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij. This infusion should be made as required.
v.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, xxx. - fl. drm. j.
Dose of the fresh powder, gr. xx. - gr. xxx. It should be infused in boiling water for ten or fifteen minutes, and the liquid and dregs should both be taken.