It is a parasitic fungus that needs to be developed for their livelihood mainly in the ovary of the flowers of rye, although in some cases may occur in other cereals.
It is known from ergot by the way the fungus itself takes to resist during the months of April and May. Its dimensions are small: it can measure up to four inches long and two wide, longitudinally appears striated with grooves that cross over, the shape is arched and dark in color, between black and violet.
As a fungus, no flowers, because its reproduction occurs through spores in the asci are formed, they are transmitted by wind or by insects and germinate only when the uterus are the flower of rye, which prevents the proper fertilization and the subsequent formation of rye grain.
The sclerotia were collected in spring, just when the corn matures and proceeds to harvest. In this way we find healthy sclerotia mixed with cereal grains, so it is appropriate that their separation.
Once separated the sclerotia is the dried on a bed of lime or by means of a stove, but never at a temperature over 45 grados CelsiusC.
To preserve receptacles are used to prevent the passage of light, which add a few drops of chloroform to prevent insects alter the sclerotium.
It is highly toxic, in the Middle Ages led to a plague even deadly - at the time it was suspected that this was a divine punishment Not knowing the real cause of the problem. Ergot was ingested in the form of bread that was made with rye flour, much used at that time by the most vulnerable classes who lacked resources to purchase other food. In high or low dose administered prolonged treatment causes vomiting, spasms, colic pains and delusions that can lead to death.
It has alkaloids as ergotoxina as ergotamine and in therapeutic doses that are used as stimulants hemostatic and vasoconstrictor of smooth muscle, and is used in bleeding, postpartum, tachycardia, hypertension and migraines.
Because of its high activity and improve its strength and standardization using the obtained (from the original) on a semi-synthetic, so its use should be confined strictly to the dose prescribed by the doctor and how he recommends it .
HABITAT: On rye and other cereals.
FLOWERING: Maturity in late spring and summer
PART USED: Sclerotium
CATALAN: Sègol cornut
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