Ergot is a fungus that attacks grains, particularly rye. It produces at
toxin, a mycotoxin which can cause itching, diarrhea, gangrene,
convulsions and hysteria. It has been postulated that it was one of
plagues in Exodus. The last outbreak was in the 1920's in Russia. The
use of herbicides in farming has eliminated it as a major problem.
David Sencer, MD