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n. a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that grows on rye. It produces several important alkaloids, chemically related to LSD, including ergotamine and ergometrine, which are used in medicine in the treatment of migraine and in childbirth. Eating bread made with rye infected with the fungus has led to sporadic outbreaks of ergotism over the centuries.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Science and Mathematics.

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