Ergot – ribs (preparation and storage)

Name: Ergot – ribs (harvesting and storage)

Ergot – Claviceps purpurea Tul. The Ukrainian name is rіzhki, popular names are uterus, matkovі rіzhki, zhytnі rіzhki, spores: black horns, smut.


Ergot family – Clavicipitaceae.

For therapeutic purposes, horns, or sclerotia, ergot are used.

It occurs in the forest, less often in the forest-steppe regions of Ukraine.

Stocks of raw materials are currently small. Several centners of horns can be harvested annually. Due to the increase in agricultural culture, the number of ergot continues to decrease. Preparations can be carried out in the Carpathians (Transcarpathian, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi regions) and Polissya (Volyn, Rivne, northern Khmelnitsky, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy regions).

Ergot is a fungus that parasitizes rye, less often wheat and barley. After infection of the ovary of rye with ergot, a black-violet formation (sclerotium) appears instead of a caryopsis, at a break it is white, oblong, obtusely trihedral, narrowed at both ends, slightly curved, up to 5 barely long and 3-5 mm thick. There can be several of them in one ear. Ergotamine (VFS 42-249-73) and ergotoxin (VFS 42-458-75) strains of carobs have been bred in culture.

Sclerotia are poisonous and therefore the grain will need to be carefully cleaned of them.

Sclerotia are harvested in July by hand picking (manual picking provides high quality raw materials), or at grain receiving points when cleaning rye seeds.

They are dried in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a thin layer (1-2 cm) on paper or cloth. The yield of dry raw materials is 70-80%.

According to the Global Fund – X Art. 599, OST NKVT 6632/222, the raw material consists of oblong curved sclerotia up to 3-5 cm long and 2-6 mm thick, black-gray, matte outside, white, yellowish-white or pale purple inside. The smell is weak, mushroom.

Taste is not determined – poisonous!

Humidity is not higher than 8%. In raw materials, no more than (percentage) is allowed: brown and yellow sclerotia on a break – 5, sclerotia damaged by pests – 1, crushed parts – 7, organic impurities – 1, mineral – 1.

The content of alkaloids must be at least 0.05%.

Dry horns are packed in bags weighing 50-60 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas on pallets. Raw materials are easily damaged by flour mites and rancid. Storage period up to 2 years. Rechecking during the storage period is not performed.

Sclerocine contains ergoalkaloids, of which the most important are ergometrine, ergotoxin and ergotamine. They are used as a hemostatic agent for uterine bleeding and to accelerate labor activity in the form of infusion, thick extract, ergotal, ergotamine and ergometrine (purified alkaloid products). Included in numerous complex tools.

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