Posted by Flash (188.8.131.52) on March 24, 2000 at 12:26:29:
In Reply to: Sansert and St Anthony's fire???? posted by Jayne on March 23, 2000 at 20:56:02:
Sansert is derived from Ergot, a fungis that grows on grain. Ergot was responsible for ST Anthony's fire, it is also hallucinogenic and may have been to blame for what people believed was witchcraft.
So Sansert or to use it's real name methysergide is a derivative of Ergot; an Ergot Alkaloid. There are two other Ergot Alkaloids, sister compounds to Methysergide that have also been used to treat CH. Methysergide is a prophylactic - it is used to PREVENT CH. One of the sister compounds is Ergotamine. Ergotamine is used as an abortive - it STOPS invidiual headaches in the cluster. Ergotamine also shares the same nasty side effects that methysergide has, because it too is a vascular constrictor. That is how both these compunds work, incidentally, they constrict your blood vessels. It is the dilation of the blood vessels in your head that cause the pain. However this dilation is only a symptom of CH, and not the cause. Methysergide gradually constricts ALL you blood vessels, this prevents the ones in your head from swelling up. That's how it works, but it means taking it longterm, and it is also constricting all the other blood vessels in your body, and that is bad for you. Ergotamine causes a sudden temporary constriction, that will stop an individual headache in it's tracks, that is how it aborts an attack. This too is bad for you because it constricts everything. One of the possible side effects of either treatment is an increased risk of stroke.
Now the third ergot alkaloid that is effective against CH has much less of an impact on the blood vessels. It does constrict them a little, but not nearly as much as the others. It's vascular constriction properties are unrelated to how it acts against CH. This compound is special in that it contains an Indole Ring structure. This is a key feature of most psychoactive substances, and is found in many hallucinogens and also in serotonin.
The latest theories on the cause of CH center on the Hypothalmus, part of the brain that controls the excretions of the Pititary Gland, and is also what we call the 'body clock'. The pituitary gland produces serotonin. The body clock link is interesting becuase it would explain how episodic CH works, and while the headaches arrive almost like clockwork!
The third Ergot alkaloid is what was responsible for the hallucinogenic properties of Ergot. It is called Lysergic Acid Diethylamide - LSD.
LSD was the original wonder cure for migraine before people started to abuse it. It can also be very effective against CH. It doesn't work for everyone, but those it does work for find it virtually 100% effective. The effective dose is about 1/4 of what would be required to experience the recreational effects.
LSD has no know dangerous side effects, if taken infrequently and in small doses. It is NON-TOXIC. It is easier to poisen yourself with alchohol sugar or caffiene. However if taken in very high doses, and/or frequently it may cause psychological problems.
LSD is of course highly illegal.
Another substance that is very similar in make-up to LSD, and also effective against CH is Psilocybin/Psilocilin (they are closely related). These substances occur naturally in certain types of fungis. Depending on where you live these may be legal, sometime provided they aren't processed.
In my own experience a single 1/4 hit of LSD prevents Ch for around 12 months.
What I would like to see is a campaign to legalised LSD or Psilocybin/Psilocilin for medical use.
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