Colchicums – Colchicaceae (formerly: Liliaceae – Liliaceae).
Common names: poison flower, poison crocus, autumn flower, dog onion, lice flower, spider flower, devil’s bread, meadow saffron.
Parts Used: Seeds and corm.
Pharmacy name: Colchicum seeds – Colchici semen (formerly: Semen Colchici), Colchicum tuber – Colchici bulbus (formerly: Bulbus Colchici). Botanical description: Colchicum flowers look like blue saffron flowers. Strengthening deep in the soil with a heart-shaped bulb, autumn colchicum develops its flower stalks in September, which come leafless to the surface of the soil. The flower consists of a long funnel tube formed by six fused leaves of a simple flower within the flower bed. The anthers and the style of the pestle protrude from the corolla tube. The ovary of the flower is in the soil, where the fruit ripens with seeds, so that next spring it can be brought to the surface, surrounded by leaves. Blooms in September. Occurs in damp meadows (in the south of Germany more often than in the north).
active ingredients. The main active ingredient is a very poisonous alkaloid colchicine, which, apparently, is found in the corm only until the seeds ripen. In mature seeds it occurs in a fairly constant amount – 0.3-0.5%. Colchicum is found within 20 different alkaloids.
Healing action and application. But first, a word of caution: autumn colchicum is a deadly poisonous plant and is by no means suitable for self-treatment! On the contrary, in the hands of physicians, it is an extremely valuable remedy for acute attacks of gout. The dosage is determined by the doctor, he also monitors the treatment and decides whether to use pure colchicine or a tincture from the plant. Since the dosage is traditionally very high, sometimes even under the supervision of a doctor, adverse reactions are found (for example, diarrhea on the second day) that also need to be treated.
Use in homeopathy. Although the homeopathic remedy Colchicum is also used against gout and articular rheumatism, its area of application is mainly inflammatory processes in the stomach and intestines. It is also used for neuralgia, tickling cough, circulatory disorders. For gout, the initial tincture or dilutions of D 1 -D4 are used, with complaints from the heart, dilutions of D 1 – D6 are mainly given, which are also prescribed for inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Side effects.Since autumn crocus contains colchicine in all its parts (even in flowers), dangerous poisoning can occur when children pick it up, who often take flowers in their mouths. And since the defeat becomes noticeable only after a few hours, when the poison has already penetrated into the blood, first aid must be provided as soon as possible. Signs of poisoning: severe vomiting, which does not stop after the emptying of the stomach, with bile and gastric mucus. Great thirst followed by nausea; diarrhoea, with colic and extremely foul smelling. The pulse first slows down, but then accelerates to 150 beats per minute or more, almost not palpable. The complexion becomes pale, the lips turn blue, the tip of the nose also becomes blue. The skin is covered with sticky mucus; convulsions begin. Finally, signs of paralysis are found.