St. Anthony's fire
The intensely painful burning sensation in the limbs and extremities caused by ergot, the consequence of a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that contaminates rye and wheat. The fungus produces substances (alkaloids) termed ergotamines that constrict blood vessels and cause the muscle of the uterus to contract. The ergotamines have been much used (and been very useful) for the treatment of migraine. They have also been used (and misused) as abortifacients (agents of abortion). In excess, ergotamines are highly toxic and cause symptoms such as hallucinations, severe gastrointestinal upset, and a type of dry gangrene. Chronic ergot poisoning (ergotism) was rife during the Middle Ages due to the consumption of contaminated rye. St Anthony is one of a number of saints whose names have entered the annals of medicine. Others include St. Guy, St. John and St. Vitus. St. Anthony's fire referred not only to ergot poisoning but also to erysipelas, a type of spreading hot, bright red strep skin infection. For more about this fascinating disease, see our article on St. Anthony's Fire — Ergotism.

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1. former name for ergotism (in humans). 2. former name for erysipelas.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • St Anthony's fire — Fire Fire (f[imac]r), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. f[=y]r; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. f[=y]ri, f[=u]rr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. {Empyrean}, {Pyre}.] 1. The evolution of light and heat in the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • St Anthony's fire — n. erysipelas or ergotism. * * * St Anthony s fire (popularly) Erysipelas • • • Main Entry: ↑Anthony St Anthony s fire see under ↑Anthony • • • Main Entry: ↑fire St Anthony s fire noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • St. Anthony's fire — noun A disease characterised by gangrene and a burning sensation in the hands and feet, now usually identified with ergotism …   Wiktionary

  • St Anthony's fire — an old colloquial name for the inflammation of the skin associated with ergot poisoning. See ergotism …   Medical dictionary

  • St Anthony's fire — noun 1》 another term for erysipelas. 2》 another term for ergotism …   English new terms dictionary

  • St Anthony's fire — an old colloquial name for the inflammation of the skin associated with ergot poisoning. See: ergotism …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • St. Anthony's fire — noun see erysipelas …   Useful english dictionary

  • St Anthony's Fire (Doctor Who) — Doctorwhobook title=St Anthony s Fire series=Virgin New Adventures number= 31 featuring=Seventh Doctor Ace, Bernice writer=Mark Gatiss publisher=Virgin Books isbn=ISBN 0 426 20423 9 pages= date=October 1994 preceding=First Frontier… …   Wikipedia

  • Лихорадка Св. Антония (St. Anthony'S Fire) — устаревшее разговорное название кожного воспаления, которое развивается при отравлении человека спорыньей. См. Эрготизм. Источник: Медицинский словарь …   Медицинские термины

  • St Elmo's fire — Fire Fire (f[imac]r), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. f[=y]r; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. f[=y]ri, f[=u]rr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. {Empyrean}, {Pyre}.] 1. The evolution of light and heat in the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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