Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.
Search for free, downloadable images taken from our library and museum collections, including paintings, illustrations, photos and more.
Bottle of ergot extract, London, England, 1891-1950
- Science Museum, London
- Digital Images
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
Selected images from this work
About this work
Ergot is derived from a fungus and it was used by midwives and doctors in the 1800s to promote contractions in birthing women. Directions on this bottle state the content was only to be used under medical supervision. Ergot also stopped bleeding after childbirth, but was also a traditional remedy to induce abortions. This glass bottle of ergot was manufactured by the London subsidiary of American company Parke, Davis and Co. Ergot grows naturally on rye and other cereals. Eating too much can cause long-term poisoning, known as ergotism. The condition is sometimes referred to as ‘St Anthony’s fire’. In the past, local outbreaks of ergotism affected towns and villages across Europe. Symptoms include convulsions and hallucinations. The effects of the poison have been historically linked to accusations of witchcraft in affected communities. maker: Parke, Davis and Company Limited Place made: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom