Secale cornutum, or ergot, is an ingredient found in many pharmaceutical drugs, which is also a homeopathic remedy. It grows on rye, wheat barley, and certain types of grasses. Ergot is considered a fungus and when it is found on plants, they should not be consumed. In high doses, secale cornutum is toxic or poisonous for people as well as animals and when it is found in a crop it then becomes contaminated. If any person or animal is poisoned by this fungus, it is referred to as ergotism.
As a homeopathic remedy, ergot is available in capsules or a liquid extract. It is used to ease the symptoms of senile gangrene and other skin conditions. This remedy can relieve severe headaches as well as menstrual disorders because it slows down the blood circulation. When the blood flow will not stop during menstruation and the uterus continues to shed, secale cornutum helps to remove any matter that is left in the uterus.
During labor, derivatives of ergot can be used to induce contractions. Typically, the ergot is only used if there if a chance for a post-partum hemorrhage but it also helps to produce strong contractions. These contractions can be severe or erratic and if too much secale cornutum is given to a woman during labor, the result can be lacerations and a rupturing of the womb. Secale cornutum is often a last resort option during delivery. It is primarily only used when a woman shows no sign of contractions.
A gassy and bloated stomach can be soothed by using ergot. It produces a cool feeling throughout the body, which helps to reduce pain. People who have problems with eating can increase their appetites by taking small amounts of ergot. Diarrhea can also be relieved but only if it is caused by a negative reaction to foods or an upset stomach. If it is caused by a drug interaction or a bacterial infection, a physician should be consulted.
When taken in smaller doses, ergot can ease the symptoms of certain conditions but an accidental overdose can result in organ failure or even death. The symptoms of an ergot overdose include vomiting, muscle weakness, and an irregular heart beat. Women who are pregnant should never use ergot because it can cause a spontaneous abortion. This remedy should also not be taken by women who are breastfeeding.