Colchicum, Autumnale It is a perennial bulbous-rooted plant which grows in wet meadows. It flowers in September. They rise with long slender tubes about four inches high. The green leaves appear in March, about four to a full-grown root. It is a native of most parts of Europe, and it grows in many parts of this land. It is poisonous to animals of all classes; but their instinct, implanted in them by the All-wise and Beneficent Creator, leads them to avoid the foliage in the field.


Stoerck, Collin, and Pleuk have praised its virtues as a diuretic in hydrothorax, and other dropsies. Some use the juice to destroy vermin in the hair. In Germany and France it is very popular amongst practitioners, who employed oxymel colchici in the afore-mentioned complaints very effectually. In England, of late years, Colchicum, or Meadow Saffron, has been extensively used in the form of Tincture, and powder, for the cure of gout and rheumatism; in both of which it is a specific. It has been recommended in gonorrhoea with Tincture of Opium, low diet, and warns baths. On the continent it is used for humeral asthma.

Dr. Graham says, " it operates chiefly on the duodenum, or first intestine; and its action is that of a purgative, diuretic, and narcotic. It stimulates the excretory ducts of the liver and pancreas, and the mucous membrane of the intestines, producing copious bilious stools, and diminishing febrile action. It is sometimes of great service in diseases of the heart, gout, rheumatism, and inflammatory complaints; but in order to its being of much permanent benefit in these maladies, it requires to be administered with caution and judgment; otherwise it may prove detrimental, instead of being useful."

When it is properly prepared, it is a safe and powerful medicine. In gouty and rheumatic affections, it allays the pains of those cruel disorders sooner and more completely than any other remedy. Its principal forms of administration are Vinegar of Colchicum, which is made by merely steeping the bulb in vinegar for two or three days, dose, from 25 to 90 drops : Oxymel and Syrup 1 to 2 drachms ; Extract, 2 a grain to 2 grains; Tincture a drachm to 1 drachm. The Tincture is made by putting 2 ounces of Colchicum seeds, 1 pint of proof spirit, and macerate for twelve days.

Important Disclaimer:   The information contained on this web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Any information presented is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not take the place of any prescribed medication. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consultation with your physician.

This page and the rest of the encyclopedia of medicinal herbs was reproduced from old herbals written in the 1700 and 1800s. They are of historical interest to show the traditional uses of various herbs based on folk medicine and ancient wisdom. However the traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.

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