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What Is Secale Cornutum?

By Pamela Pleasant
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By anon290369 — On Sep 09, 2012

I have had chronic headaches for the past 30 years and have tired every prescription drug and remedy to lessen the headaches. Recently I have been taking 11 to 14 Imitrex a month. Then someone suggested I take Secale Cornutum 30C daily as a preventative and Gelsemium 30C when I get a headache.

I have been taking Secale Cornutum 30C for the past 15 days and I have been headache free 13 of those days. On the two days I had a headache I took Gelsemium several times each day and the headache stayed mild.

By lighth0se33 — On Jun 12, 2012

Has anyone here ever taken secale cornutum for migraine headaches? My aunt says that it works, but she is all into homeopathy, and I don’t totally trust her judgment.

I’ve been having terrible migraines for the past few months, and nothing that I take really makes them go away. My aunt has been pestering me to try ergot, but I just feel uneasy about taking something that my doctor did not prescribe.

Will doctors actually prescribe this for headaches? If so, I should probably go to him instead of getting it from my aunt. I want to make sure I get the correct dosage.

By cloudel — On Jun 11, 2012

My sister used to be married to a horrible man. When he found out she was pregnant with his baby, he went into a rage. He tried to get her to have an abortion, but she refused.

So, he put secale cornutum in her food without her knowing about it. This made her have contractions months too early, and she lost the baby.

It was several weeks later before she discovered the bottle of secale cornutum in the cupboard. She confronted her husband, and he admitted to giving it to her. That gave her the motivation she needed to leave him.

By seag47 — On Jun 10, 2012

@shell4life - It is awful that those poor people got accused of being both witches and murderers because of ergot. I have read that it caused even worse things than strange behavior, though.

It actually made the people who consumed ergot develop gangrene. Their arms and legs rotted and fell off while they were still alive! Can you imagine?

I know that secale cornutum is safe in small doses when administered by a doctor, but I am just too scared to take it for any reason. If it is capable of such terrible things as this, I don’t want any of it in my body, no matter how small the amount.

By shell4life — On Jun 09, 2012

Secale cornutum is bad news if it is found on grains. It used to fatally poison people centuries ago, and they weren’t even aware of the cause.

I have heard that ergot caused several people who ate the bread to behave strangely and have convulsions. This made people think that they were under the influence of witchcraft, and some people were tried and hung as witches because of this.

It is surely tragic that these poor people got blamed for something that no one knew was actually biological. Science was very limited back then, though, so no one could have known.

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