Meadow Saffron. Nat. Ord. Melanthaceae. Linn. Syst. Hexandria Trigynia. Hab. England, and some parts of Europe.

Med. Prop. and Action. The Cormus, or Bulb, and the Seeds (off.) are acrid, purgative, diuretic, and sedative, in doses of gr. iij. - v. thrice daily or oftener. They contain a poisonous principle, Colchicina or Colchicine: and a peculiar acid, Cevadic Acid. In small doses, Colchicum increases the secretions generally, particularly those of the liver and mucous membrane of the intestines. In a full dose it purges copiously, allays pain in a remarkable manner, and depresses the action of the heart and arteries; in some persons it gives rise to intermission of the pulse; the motions produced by it are copious, frequent, and of a highly bilious character; the fasces, though solid, are surrounded with mucus, and its operation seems more analogous to that of the saline purgatives than of any other cathartic. Its sedative influence, though sensibly connected with its evacuant effects, is not, however, solely dependent upon them, and the number of motions may be very considerable without any proportionate depression of the strength ensuing (Dr. Barlow). Colchicum has been asserted to exercise a twofold action on the urine. Chelius believes, and the same fact has been stated by others, that, even in moderate doses, it has the effect of increasing the amount of lithates and Lithic Acid in the urine, when these are deficient; and Dr. Gravest has observed that, when the urine is loaded with lithates, Colchicum has the effect of decreasing their quantity, or of removing them altogether. This subject, however, has been carefully examined by Dr. Garrod|| who draws the following conclusions: - 1. That there is no evidence to prove that Colchicum produces its effects upon the system by causing the kidneys to excrete an increased amount of Uric Acid, but that in fact the reverse would seem to hold good. 2. That Colchicum is not always diuretic, but often diminishes the renal secretion, especially when its action is exerted upon the alimentary canal. 3. That it has no marked influence on the excretion of urea. These conclusions are drawn from careful analysis of seventy-two cases. From idiosyncrasy some persons are unable to take even the smallest dose of Colchicum without its producing serious constitutional disturbance. Externally applied, it is anodyne.

Offlc. Prep. Of the Bulb (Cormus Colchici): -

1. Extractum Colchici (the expressed juice, heated to 212°, strained and evaporated at a temperature not exceeding 160°, to a proper consistence). Dose, gr. 1/2 - gr. ij. every four or six hours.

* Lancet, Aug. 1842.

Cyc. Pract. Med., vol. ii art. Gout.

London Medical Gazette, vol. vii.

§ British and For. Med. Rev., April 1849.

|| Proceedings of Royal Med. Chir. Soc., June 8, 1858.

2. Extractum Colchici Aceticum (Prepared As The Extract, With The Addition Of Fl

oz. vj. of Acetic Acid to lbs. vij. of Colchicum Conns deprived of their coats). Dose, gr. 1/2 - gr ij.

8. Vinum Colchici (Colchicum Corm Dried And Sliced Oz

iv.; Sherry Oj. Prepared by maceration). Dose, ex. - fl. drui. 1/2, or to fl. drm. j.

Acetum Colchici (Ph. Lond.) (Dried Colchicum Conn 3iiiss.; Dilute Acetic Acid Oj.; Proof Spirit fiss. Prepared by maceration). Dose, ex. - f3j.

Of the Seed (Semen Colchici): Tinctura Colchici Seminis (Colchicum Seed, bruised, oz. iiss.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, ex. - fl. drm. 1/2.

Dose of the Powdered Conns, gr. jj. - gr. viij.