Medicine: Ergot Controversy

A fear of ergot has been subtly inseminated throughout the U. S. during the last year, adding to the trepidation of conception. This week the source of that fear, a trade controversy, became public.

Ergot is rotted rye. A fungus grows on the rye head and eats away the grains. What is left is a collection of hard bodies, each shaped like a cock's spur. Hence the name ergot, from French argot (spur). Good, dry ergot is of inestimable value in obstetrics. Its extract contracts the uterus and arteries, stops hemorrhages, raises blood pressure. Good...

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