Ergot Poisoning

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MMC/15/12/2
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 O 6 b
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      2 items

Scope and Content

Ergot, caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea is a disease of cereal crops and grasses. When consumed in sufficient quantities, ergot produces a disease called "ergotism". Ergot poisoning was common in Europe in the Middle Ages when rye bread was often consumed. Consumption of foods contaminated with ergot and ergot derivatives may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, hallucinations, and may lead to gangrene. An outbreak of ergot poisoning is believed to have occurred in Manchester in the late 1920s,