In Wood's Reference Handbook it is stated that ergot "appears to have been used by the peasantry in some parts of Europe in childbirth as much as three hundred years ago—but its formal introduction into modern medicine is due to the efforts of Dr. Stearns of New York in the early part of the present (nineteenth) century." I quote again from the same source: "The greatest value of ergot in therapeutics depends on its action on the uterus," and "Ergot is also to be recommended in all forms of capillary hemorrhages." This is essentially the ergot-therapy of the books, as well as of general practice to-day, but you will invariably find long dissertations on its poisonous effects, ergotism.
THE AUTHOR'S EARLY EXPERIENCE.
It is almost thirty years since, as assistant physician in the State Lunatic Asylum of Utica, N. Y., I began to use ergot to modify the hyperemia