Years ago, while travelling in the south of France, we passed through the beautiful, plane-tree-lined town of Pont-Saint-Esprit. I was told that this place was famous for a 1950s outbreak of ergot de seigle poisoning caused by contaminated bread. Many people in the town went temporarily mad and many died.
Ergot is a hallucinogenic fungus that grows on rye. Really bad cases can cause gangrene, the loss of limbs and death. There have been outbreaks throughout history, particularly the Middle Ages. In the 10th century possibly 60,000 people died in two separate outbreaks. The paintings of Hieronymous Bosch are thought to be about this trippy stuff.
Pharmaceutical company chemists are famous for experimenting with powerful plant compounds in their search for drugs and there have been a bunch of different products developed from ergot. The most famous of these drugs, Hydergine was discovered in the 1930s by the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was experimenting with ergot looking for a circulatory stimulant and developed “ergeloid mesylates” which is now called Hydergine. He also accidentally discovered LSD at the same time, by the way.
Hydergine is prescribed for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias. It is thought to improve symptoms by increasing blood flow to the brain and possibly modulating synaptic neurotransmission. Andy Cutler talks about it in Amalgam Illness, although the information is hard to find because it got left out of the index. He says many brain problems are caused because mercury makes it harder for the brain to get oxygen and glucose to turn into energy. He suggests vinpocetine and Hydergine for brain issues. Both these compounds help protect the brain from oxidative damage and can elevate mood. Vinpocetine is available over the counter at supplement shops but Hydergine is an expensive prescription drug and hard to come by, although you can order it from certain online pharmacies where it is considerably cheaper than the pharmacy. Andy says to take up to 20 mg a day in divided doses but to start with 1 mg and build up to avoid nausea.
Often people think they have problems with how their brain is working but the symptoms are really coming from their liver or their adrenals or thyroid. If you have eliminated these causes for your brain fog or mood problems and think that it is really your brain that is the problem, you can give this stuff a try. Andy used it and liked what it did for him a lot.
“The Antiaging Store” just emailed me that Hydergine is back in stock. I have been on the list to be notified for several years now! I always wanted to try it for my brother’s dementia but could never get it. It is a dollar a pill and you would need up to ten pills a day to hit that 20 mg. It is pricey so give vinpocetine a try first.