The dried ripe seeds and corm1 of Colchicum autum-nale, found in Europe. The active principle is called colchicine.

Physiological Actions

Colchicum is a sedative to the central nervous system; a diuretic; and an irritant cathartic. It stimulates the liver, and excites the action of the skin. The urine, urea, and uric acid are increased in amount by moderate doses of colchicum. The pulse is slightly reduced in frequency - about 12 beats less to the minute being noticed while the impression lasts.

1A part of the stem which is underground, yet not the actual root - a bulb.

Symptoms Of Poisoning

Colchicum in poisonous doses is an acro-narcotic,1 producing a combination of nervous and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Nausea, violent and persistent vomiting and retching appear first, with purging of serous, mucous, and bloody matters, attended with griping pain.

Tenderness and burning are felt in the abdomen and stomach; the urine may be diminished or suppressed, while in some cases it is increased, and in others the kidneys seem unaffected almost to the last.

Spasms occur frequently, and there may be fatal convulsions. The circulation fails, the pulse becomes rapid and grows feeble and thready, the skin is cold, livid, and covered with perspiration.

Consciousness remains, and death results from collapse.

The fatal dose is small, death having been caused by ʒ ss -ii. of the wine.

Treatment Of Poisoning

The only chemical antidote is tannin, though it is not always sure in its action. Emetics, with plenty of warm water, and castor oil must be given; albuminous drinks - milk, white of egg, etc. - and demulcents freely given, and stimulation used as the need arises.

Incidental Effects

Colchicum, even in small doses, may produce unpleasant secondary symptoms: dizziness, fulness and pain in the head; pains over the body; numbness, redness, prickling or smarting sensations; sneezing; running at the eyes; irritated fauces; coated tongue; loss of appetite or nausea; abdominal uneasiness or pain; flatulence or borborygmi; or rectal tenesmus may be observed.

1A poison which is irritant, and which also acts on the brain and spinal cord. 17

Preparations Of Colchicum

Tinctura Colchici Seminis. Tincture Of Colchicum Seed

Strength, 10%. Average dose,  xxx.-2 mils.

Fluidextractum Colchici Seminis. Fluidextract Of Colchicum Seed

Average dose,  iii.-0.2 mil.

Colchicina. Colchicine

Average dose, gr. 1/120-0.0005 Gm.