Colchicum. Colchicum autumnale.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Meadow saffron.

Dose of the bulb, from. two to eight grains; of the seed, from one to five grains.

Colchicine, Colchicortesin, Beta-colchicoresin.


Specific Colchicum. Dose, from one-fourth minim to three minims.
Extractum Colchici Semini Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Colchicum Seed. Dose, from one to five minims.
Vinum Colchici Radicis. Wine, of Colchicum Root (when made from the fresh bulb). Dose, from one to five minims. It should be discontinued as soon as violent catharsis or any depressing effects are observed.

Physiological Action—Moderate doses cause some gastro-intestinal irritation, with loss of appetite, colic and diarrhea; if the quantity is increased there is bilious vomiting, irritation of the colon with colicky pains, bloody and mucous stools, but without tenderness on pressure over the abdomen; while poisonous doses cause violent gastro-intestinal irritation, griping, purging, vomiting, painful spasms of the limbs and trunk, collapse, delirium, coma and death.

It is a cathartic and depressant of vital action, in large doses, an irritant poison inducing the phenomena of acute cholera, with enfeeblement of the heart's action and of the circulation.

Therapy—A recent Homeopathic writer, finds the indications for colchicum very often present in vomiting and the nausea of pregnancy. His success has been so prompt and gratifying, that he seldom uses other remedies. It is indicated when there is a clear, glairy, stringy fluid vomited, the nausea aggravated by smell of food.

In autumnal diarrhea, with white or bloody mucous discharges, the remedy gives immediate results.

The remedy is seldom used for its cathartic influence but has long been given as a magical eliminative in chronic rheumatism and gout. It has a specific influence upon muscular pains, acting in harmony with cimicifuga, with which it is usually prescribed, and with gelsemium. It must be given always short of its cathartic action; even then, when continued for some time, it depresses the heart and the nervous system, producing a feeble pulse and cool skin. It is seldom given in acute rheumatism, although it may be prescribed advantageously in these cases.

In rheumatic carditis or pericarditis in its sthenic stage, its influence is sometimes superior to that of any other agent. Its direct influence on the disease processes is exercised to a most desirable extent.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.