One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Poisoning produced by eating food affected by ergot, typically resulting in headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and gangrene of the fingers and toes.
- ‘One of the main illnesses treated at the hospital was ergotism (called ‘St. Anthony's Fire ’), a disease caused by ergot, a fungus that grows especially on rye.’
- ‘When 40,000 people died of ergotism (caused by a toxic mould on wheat) in southern France in AD944, nobody would have described it as a ‘food scare’.’
- ‘The use of ergot alkaloids is generally not advised during lactation, but this recommendation is based on a report of ergotism in an infant in a 1934 study and has not been confirmed by more recent detailed studies.’
- ‘But at the time, no scientist had connected those black seed grains with ergotism.’
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