Colchicine (C22H25NO6 = 396.23) is an alkaloid-like principle found in the seeds and corm of Colchicum autumnale, a perennial plant of south-central Europe and northern Africa.


Central Nervous System. - Secondary exhaustion from the severe gastro-intestinal irritation arising from large doses.

Muscular system is unaffected.

Respiration. - Slowed and deepened; later becoming shallow; reflex.

Heart is not affected until collapse impends.

Blood-pressure not altered until late; then secondary.

Alimentary Tract. - The mucosa is intensely irritated by colchicum. This irritation rapidly induces a condition of systemic collapse similar to that produced in cholera.

Secretory Glands. - Not affected directly.

Metabolism. - No conclusive data.

Temperature. - Not affected.

Absorption is fairly rapid.

Excretion. - Uncertain.

Local Action. - Very irritating, producing redness and tickling.


Therapeutic Doses.

Seldom any symptoms other than possible colic and diarrhea.

Toxic Doses.


Gastro-intestinal distress.

Nausea and vomiting.

Purging with tenesmus.

Great thirst.

Depression and apathy.


Progressive ascending paralysis.



On empirical grounds solely, the preparations of Colchicum are used with asserted benefit in acute rheumatism and gout.


Tinctura Colchici Seminis, 1 to 2 mils. Colchicina, 0.0006 to 0.0012 Gm.

"The poisoning (from Colchicum) is one of the most painful, slow, and hopeless poisonings known" (Hare).