Claviceps are a group of phytopathogenic ascomycetes which includes around 50 known species. Claviceps purpurea, Claviceps fusiformis, Claviceps paspali, Claviceps africana, and Claviceps lutea are the most common and well-characterized fungi. Ergot alkaloids and other constituents derived from Claviceps are beneficial for various clinical applications in humans and animals. However, they also contain certain chemicals that are extremely addictive, abusive, and lethal. Ergot derivatives exhibit interesting pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects. Their pharmacodynamic actions are attributed to their agonistic, partial agonistic, and antagonistic effects on different receptors pertaining to the monoaminergic neurotransmitters. Due to their binding (with or without intrinsic effects) ability on the receptors, they induce numerous pharmacological effects which have potential medical values. Methysergide, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, ergometrine (ergonovine), pergolide, ergoloid mesylates, and bromocriptine are the most popular ergot-based drugs used globally for treating numerous diseases. These drugs have been used to treat inflammatory-, infectious-, neurological-, cardiovascular-, gastrointestinal-, endocrinological-, sexual-, and urological-related pathologies. Hence, they are considered as a multipotent and poly-therapeutic fungus.
Majrashi, M., Ramesh, S., Deruiter, J., Mulabagal, V., Pondugula, S., Clark, R., & Dhanasekaran, M. (2017). Multipotent and Poly-therapeutic Fungal Alkaloids of Claviceps purpurea. In Medicinal Plants and Fungi: Recent Advances in Research and Development (pp. 229-252). Springer, Singapore. 10.1007/978-981-10-5978-0_8
Link to full text