Horns – purple ergot

Name: Rіzhki – purple ergot

Horns (Claviceps purpurea); rye horns, uterus, uterine horns, spore; purple ergot


A parasitic fungus of the class of marsupial fungi (ascomycetes), affecting the ovary of some cereals. The development cycle of the fungus consists of three successive stages: marsupial, conidial, and wintering. In the ear of affected plants, instead of grains, sclerotia are formed, which have the appearance of horns and are the wintering stage of the fungus. Sclerotia overwinter in the soil, where they fall during harvesting. In the spring, reddish club-shaped processes – stroma – grow out of them. On the periphery of the stroma heads, fruiting bodies are formed – perithecia, in which special formations – bags, or asci, are formed, and 8 thread-like ascospores develop in them. Ripe ascospores are released from perithecia, picked up by the wind, transferred to plants and infect them (ascospores germinate, and their germ tubes penetrate the ovary). in charge a multicellular branched mycelium is developed from the ascospore, covered with a layer of conidiophores, which detach a huge number of conidia. Simultaneously with the dismemberment of the conidia, the body of the fungus is covered with a sticky, sweet and smelly liquid (it is produced by the plant as a result of infection), which attracts insects that feed on it. Insects transfer conidia to healthy spikelets; secondary infection of plants occurs. In both cases, after infection, sclerotia are formed at the site of the ovaries. secondary infection of plants occurs. In both cases, after infection, sclerotia are formed at the site of the ovaries. secondary infection of plants occurs. In both cases, after infection, sclerotia are formed at the site of the ovaries.

Spread. Hornworms parasitize 170 cultivated and wild cereals, but most often on rye. Recently, the spread of the disease in crops has decreased, therefore in specialized farms for the cultivation of medicinal plants, hornets have begun to be bred artificially (ergotamine and ergotoxin strains of hornets have been bred in the culture).

Procurement and storage . Horns, or sclerotia, of the mushroom (Secale cornutum, a synonym of Fungus secalis) are used for medicinal purposes. Horns are prepared during the harvest, collecting them by hand directly in the field (this is the purest and highest quality raw material!) or at grain receiving points during the cleaning of rye seeds. On artificial plantations, corn is harvested by direct harvesting with converted grain harvesters. The collected horns are dried under shelter in the open air or in a well-ventilated room, spreading out an even thin (1-2 cm thick) layer on paper or cloth. Artificial drying is carried out at a temperature of 50°. 70-80% of dry corns are obtained. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas. The shelf life is 2 years.

Chemical composition. The sclerotia of horns contain alkaloids that are derivatives of lysergic acid and are divided into 3 groups: the ergotoxin group (ergocristine, ergocornine, ergocriptine), the ergotamine group, and the ergometrine group. All alkaloids of the named groups have their dextrorotatory physiologically inactive stereoisomers (derivatives of isolisergic acid). Along with this, the sclerotia of horns contain the alkaloid ergomonamine and alkaloids of the clavine group: costaclavine, peninclavine, hanaclavine, elimoclavine, and ergoclavine. The composition and content of alkaloids largely depend on the race of the mushroom, the host plant on which the mushroom develops, and external factors. In addition to alkaloids, there are sugars (3-4%), ergosterol and amines: tyramine, histamine, trimethylamine, methylamine, agmatine and hexylamine; amino acids: asparagine, alanine, valine, leucine and phenylalanine and other nitrogen-containing compounds: choline, acetylcholine, betaine, ergothioxin, ergothioneine, uracil and guanosine; pigments and a significant amount of lipids.

Pharmacological properties and use. The therapeutic effect of cornflowers is due to the presence of alkaloids in them, the main ones of which are ergometrine, ergotamine and ergotoxin. In therapeutic doses, they have a strictly selective effect on the uterus, increasing its contraction. With large doses, muscle spasm occurs. Ergometrine has the most pronounced selective effect on the uterus and the least toxicity, but it is inferior to ergotoxin and ergotamine in terms of the duration of the effect on the contractility of the uterus. The muscles of the uterus are especially sensitive to horns during pregnancy and after childbirth. In obstetrics and gynecology, antlers and products made from them are widely used for uterine atony and related uterine bleeding (the hemostatic effect is due to the compression of the vessel walls during the contraction of the uterine muscles), in the postpartum period, to accelerate the contraction of the uterus, with menorrhagia and with uterine bleeding not related to a violation of the menstrual cycle. The use of horns and products made from them is contraindicated during pregnancy and childbirth (tonic contraction of the uterine muscles can cause asphyxia of the fetus). It is dangerous to use horns immediately after the birth of a child, if the child’s place is still in the uterine cavity (muscle spasm can prevent the separation of litter). With too long use, and sometimes with increased sensitivity to the preparations of antlers, the phenomena of ergotism are possible, associated with the narrowing of blood vessels and impaired nutrition of tissues (especially the limbs), as well as mental disorders. Phenomena of ergotism can also occur when eating bread baked from flour ground from grain that has not been cleaned from the horns. All preparations of horns, as well as horns in their native form, extremely poisonous, they should be used only with permission and under the supervision of a doctor. Accidental or intentional poisoning with large doses of horns is accompanied by unbearable pain in the stomach and severe convulsions, death often occurs. The infusion of carobs, the product ergotal, which is the sum of the alkaloids of carobs, and individual alkaloids — ergometrine, ergotamine and their derivatives — are used as uterine remedies. To one degree or another, horn alkaloids and their derivatives stimulate central dopamine receptors and in this connection can suppress prolactin secretion (a specific antagonist of dopamine receptors is bromcriptine (“Bromcriptinum”) — a semi-synthetic product obtained on the basis of the alkaloid ergocriptine). Alkaloids ergotamine and ergotoxin are part of a number of domestic and foreign combined products (“Belloid”, “Coffetaminum”, “Cofergot”, “Ergofein”, “Ergofin”). Hydrogenated carob alkaloids lose their selective effect on the uterus, but acquire pronounced sedative and hypotensive properties and are used for neuroses, vascular spasms, hypertension and other diseases. Phlebodynamic properties of hydrogenated carob alkaloids should also be noted (for example, dihydroergocristine is part of the venotonic product called anavenol).

Medicinal forms and applications. Infusion of cornflowers (6 g of raw material per 200 ml of boiling water) 1 tablespoon 3 times a day for uterine bleeding. Ergotalum is used for uterine bleeding caused by uterine atony; to accelerate the involution of the uterus in the postpartum period. Assign orally 0.0005-0.001 g (0.5-1 mg) 2-3 times a day or subcutaneously and intramuscularly 0.5-1 ml (0.00025-0.0005 g ergotal) 1 — 2 times a day. Forms of release: tablets containing 0.001 g (1 mg) of the amount of alkaloids, and in the form of a 0.05% solution for injections in ampoules of 1 ml. Ergometrini (Ergometrini Maleas) is used in obstetric practice for bleeding after manual removal of litter, for early postpartum bleeding, delayed involution of the uterus in the postpartum period, for bleeding after cesarean section, for bleeding purulent secretions after abortion and bleeding due to uterine fibroids. It is prescribed internally, intramuscularly and intravenously; the fastest and strongest effect is observed with intravenous administration. A single dose for parenteral administration is 0.0002 g (0.2 mg), for oral administration – 0.0002-0.0004 g (0.2-0.4 mg). In the postpartum period, 0.2-0.4 mg is prescribed orally 2-3 times a day until the threat of bleeding disappears – for 3 days; in case of prolonged bleeding, inject 0.2 mg intravenously or into the muscles once, then continue to give the product internally. The drug is contraindicated during pregnancy, in the 1st and 2nd periods of childbirth. Release forms; tablets containing 0.0002 g (0.2 mg) of ergometrine maleate, and 1 ml of 0.02% solution (0.2 mg) in ampoules. Ergotamine (Ergotamini Hydrotartras) is used in obstetrics and gynecology practice in the early postpartum period for hypo- and atonic bleeding, during and after cesarean section, for subinvolution of the uterus after childbirth and abortion, and for severe dysfunctional uterine bleeding and hemorrhages associated with fibroids uterus In addition, ergotamine is used for migraine. There are reasons to consider it effective in glaucoma. Administer 10-15 drops of 0.1% solution (or 40 drops of 0.025% solution) or 1 tablet (drag) (0.001 g) 1-3 times a day. 0.5-1 ml of 0.05% solution (0.25-0.5 mg) is injected subcutaneously and into the muscles. In urgent cases, 0.5 ml of a 0.05% solution is injected slowly into a vein. For migraine, 15-20 drops of a 0.1% solution are prescribed a few hours before the expected attack. At the beginning of the painful phase of an attack, you can take 2-4 mg under the tongue, then after 2 hours – 2 mg until the pain subsides, but no more than 10 mg per day. With a severe migraine attack, 0.5-1 ml of a 0.05% solution is injected into the muscles. Higher doses when taken orally: single — 0.002 (2 mg), daily — 0.004 g (4 mg); under the skin and into the muscles: once — 0.0005 g (0.5 mg), daily — 0.002 g (2 mg). Long-term treatment with ergotamine is not recommended (possible development of ergotism); after 7 days of use, in cases requiring longer treatment, take a break (for 3-4 days). The drug is contraindicated in angina pectoris and narrowing of peripheral vessels, in late stages of atherosclerosis and hypertension, during pregnancy, septic conditions, and liver and kidney dysfunction. Release forms: ampoules of 1 ml of 0.05% solution (0.5 mg in 1 ml), bottles of 10 ml of 0.1% solution (1 mg in 1 ml), tablets (drags) of 0.001 g (1 mg). Belloid is taken 1-2 tablets 3 times a day for increased excitement, insomnia, vegetative dystonia, Meniere’s syndrome, neurogenic disorders associated with menstrual cycle disorders, and hyperthyroidism. Contraindications are the same as before the use of ergotamine. The drug is produced in the Hungarian People’s Republic.

Methylergometrin (Methylergometri-num) is injected under the skin and into the muscles at 0.5-1 ml of a 0.02% solution, 0.25-1 ml into a vein (in 20 ml of a 40% glucose solution) in case of hypotension and atony of the uterus in the early postpartum period, with cesarean section, bleeding after abortion and due to delayed involution of the uterus. The drug is contraindicated during pregnancy and childbirth.

Coffetamine tablets (Tabulletae “Coffetaminum”) are used for migraine (vasoparalytic form), arterial hypotension and as a means of reducing intracranial pressure in vascular, traumatic and infectious lesions of the central nervous system. 1-2 tablets are prescribed internally during a headache attack 2 times a day, then 1 tablet 2-3 times a day for several days (up to 1 month). A similar product is produced abroad under the names: “Cofergot”, “Ergo-fein”, “Ergoffin”.

Dihydroergotamine (Dihydroergotamim Methanesulfonas) is taken inside 10-20 drops (in 0.5 glasses of water) 1-3 times a day for migraine and Raynaud’s disease. The drug is contraindicated in cases of hypotension, severe atherosclerosis, organic heart lesions, angina pectoris, impaired kidney function, and old age.

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