Overview

Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye and less commonly on other grasses such as wheat.

Ergot has an interesting history. During the Middle Ages, ergotism, a severe reaction to ergot-contaminated food (such as rye bread), was common and was known as St. Anthony's fire. Also, some historians believe that ergot played a role in the Salem witch hunt of 1692. They think that some women in Salem developed peculiar behaviors and accused other women of being witches as a result of eating ergot-contaminated food.

Despite serious safety concerns, ergot has been used as medicine. People use ergot for excessive bleeding during menstrual periods, to expel placenta after childbirth, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Certain chemicals in ergot are used in prescription medicines.

How does it work ?

Ergot contains chemicals that can help reduce bleeding by causing a narrowing of the blood vessels.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ergot for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Ergot is UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a high risk of poisoning, and it can be fatal. Early symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and weakness, numbness, itching, and rapid or slow heartbeat. Ergot poisoning can progress to gangrene, vision problems, confusion, spasms, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Ergot is UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a high risk of poisoning, and it can be fatal. Early symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and weakness, numbness, itching, and rapid or slow heartbeat. Ergot poisoning can progress to gangrene, vision problems, confusion, spasms, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to use ergot. Ergot has many effects that can be harmful during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Don't use it.

Heart disease: Ergot can narrow blood vessels and make heart disease worse.

Kidney disease: People with kidney problems are not able to flush ergot out of their bodies well enough. This can cause ergo to build up, and that increases the risk of ergot poisoning.

Liver disease: People with liver problems are not able to remove ergot from their bodies well enough. This can cause ergo to build up, and that increases the risk of ergot poisoning.

Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the legs and feet (peripheral vascular disease): Ergot can narrow blood vessels and make this condition worse.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Ergot Derivatives interacts with ERGOT

    Ergot contains the same chemicals as ergot derivatives in prescription medications. Taking ergot supplements with prescription ergot derivatives can increase the effects and side effects of ergot.

    Some of these ergot derivatives include bromocriptine (Parlodel), dihydroergotamine (Migranal, DHE-45), ergotamine (Cafergot), and pergolide (Permax).

  • Medications that decrease break down of other medications in the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inhibitors) interacts with ERGOT

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Some medications might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down ergot. Taking ergot along with some medications that decrease the break-down of other medications in the liver can increase the effects and side effects of ergot. Before taking ergot, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications that might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down ergot include amiodarone (Cordarone), clarithromycin (Biaxin), diltiazem (Cardizem), erythromycin (E-mycin, Erythrocin), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase), and many others.

  • Stimulant drugs interacts with ERGOT

    Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. Speeding up the nervous system can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Ergot might also speed up the nervous system. Taking ergot along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with ergot.

    Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.

  • Serotonergic drugs interacts with ERGOT

    Ergot can increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Some medications also increase serotonin. Taking ergot along with these medications might increase serotonin too much. This can cause serious side effects including severe headache, heart problems, shivering, confusion, and anxiety.

    Some of these medications include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), rizatriptan (Maxalt), methadone (Dolophine), tramadol (Ultram), and many others.

Dosing

The appropriate dose of ergot depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for ergot. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.