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Hofmann A. 
“Historical View On Ergot Alkaloids.”. 
Pharmacology (Basel). 1978;16(Suppl 1):1-11.
A historical review of ergot alkaloids is presented. Ergot has been known for centuries and numerous outbreaks of ergotism occurred in the Middle Ages accounting for thousands of deaths. In 1582. Lonitzer mentioned ergot as a remedy used by midwives for aiding childbirth. In 1906 ergotoxine was the first ergot alkaloid discovered. This was followed by ergotamine, ergonovine (=ergometrine) and other alkaloids. The common nucleus of these alkaloids named lysergic acid was subsequently synthesizedand shown to have 4 stereoisomers, d- and 1-lysergic acid and d- and 1-isolysergic acid. Synthesis of these alkaloids are mentioned and chemical modifications of these alkaloids - discussed. These modifications led to the synthesis of LSD, Methergin, methysergide, dibydroergotoxine and 2-bromo-alpha-ergokryptine. These compounds show hallucinogenic, vasoconstrictor and uterotonic activities.
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