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Des sources du savoir aux médicaments du futur

Jacques Fleurentin
Jean-Marie Pelt
Guy Mazars

3. Autres thèmes

Mushrooms in the Polish pharmacopoeias (xix-xx c)

Anna Trojanowska

Entrées d'index

Keywords :

Polypores, ergot, yeas

Texte intégral

1In the traditional popular culture there are over ten different varieties of mushrooms growing in the Polish territory that are in use. A few of them used to be utilised as medicines. The official science doesn't reflect this use. Only four species of mushrooms are described in seven studied polish pharmacopoeias from the MX and XX centuries: two polypores, medicinal yeast and ergot.

2In the first Polish pharmacopoeia - Pharmaopoeia Regni Poloniae published in 1817 Boletus igniarius and Boletus laricis were described.

3In the military pharmacopoeia - Pharmacopoeia Castrensis Polonica (1831) was mentioned only one mushroom - Boletus igniarius.

4In the Hospital Pharmacopoeia - Pharmacopoeia Nosocomialis fist edition 1 831, 2-nd 1 860) were mentioned - Boletus igniarius and Secale cornutum as well as a formula for Decoctum Secalis cornutum was inserted.

5In the second edition of Polish pharmacopoeia Farmakopea Polska II (1937) were described two fungi - Secale cornutum and Faex medicinalis as well as the preparations: Extractum Secalis cornutum siccum, Extractum Secalis cornutum fluidum and Extractum Faecis.

6Similarly was in the third edition (1954)

Boletus igniarius (syn. Fomes fomentarius)

7Polypore growing on stems of beeches, oaks and ashes. From fructifications were received slices, which were used as dressings for stanching (Pharmacopoeia Regni Poloniae, 1817, 7; Pharmacopoea Castrensis Polonica, 1831, 54; Hospital Pharmacopoeia, 1860, 25).

Boletus laricis (syn. Agaricum, Laricifomes officinalis)

8Polypore growing on stems of larches. Powdered fructifications were used as a laxative or antiperspirant. Boletus laricis contains active constituent - agaricin (Pharmacopoeia Regni Poloniae, 1817, 7-8).

Secale cornutum - rel ergot spore

9Fungus parasitizing on the ears of corn. Ergot preparations were used in gynecology and peripheral blood vessel diseases, as well as in haemorrhages in consumptives. In the folk medicine it was used as an abortive and antibaernorrhagic agent.

10Active constituents:

  • macromolecular alkaloids (ergotamine, ergotoxine) insoluble in water; able to evoke strong contraction of peripheral vessel; display weak action on the uterus;
  • micromolecular alkaloides (ergometrine), soluble in water; do not evoke a contraction of peripheral blood vessels; display strong and quick contraction activity on the uterus (Hospital Pharmacopoeia 1860, 33; Polish Pharmacopoeia II, 1946, 773-774; Polish Pharmacopoeia III, 1954, 197-200, 226- 229, 548-550).

Faex medicinalis (syn. Fermentum cerevisiae) - Yeast

11Yeast were used in the treatment of digestive system disorders, in nervous exhaustion and in dermal diseases. Yeast were also used as auxiliary substance in a dispensing.

12Active constituents: enzyms and vitamines (Polish Pharmacopoeia II 1946, 315-316, 337. Polish Pharmacopoeia III, 1954, 213, 233).

13Nowadays, fungi are not recognised as medicinal row materials. The fourth (1965-70) and fifth (1990-1993) editions of pharmacopoeia included descriptions of only synthetic compounds derived from alkaloids of ergot (Polish Pharmacopoeia IV, vol.2, 1970, 286- 290, 306-308. Polish Pharmacopoeia V vol. 2, 1993, 247-248, 265-267).

14But in the xix-th c. official medicine unlike the folk medicine use other fungi: Amanita muscaria, Lycoperdon bovista, Fungus cervinus, Fungus salicis, etc. These mushrooms were not described in the Polish phamracopoeias from xix-th and xx-th centuries.


Institute of the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw (Poland)

© IRD Éditions, 2002

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