Colchicum autumnale L.
Composition and uses
THE PLANT : Colchicum, Colchicum autumnale L., Liliaceae.
Herbaceous plant growing in moist meadows. It is perennial plant with bulb, whose flower open out during autumn . Flower is very nice and easily recognizable, it is tubulous, 10 to 15 cm long, and it is pink or purplish-blue.
COMPOSITION AND USES :
Colchicum and its toxicity are knew for a long time. Major alkalo´d is colchicine. Colchicine is responsible for activity's plant and for toxicity. All the parts are toxic (seeds and bulb in particular).
Colchicine has binding-tubulin activity and inhibits cellular growth, for this reason it is a very toxic substance. It is laboratory reagent and drug used to treat gout.
Intoxication occurs with drugs containing colchicine for gout's treatment, or with plant itself. With drugs it is bad use (overdosage), or suicid (rarely). With plant it is often a mistake (bulb maybe confused with onion !) Sometimes children eat seeds.
Intoxications are rare, but they are very serious because doesn't exist specific antidot for colchicin poisoning. Symptoms are abominal aches and diarrhoea. Later marrow of bones will be affect with leucopenia (infectious risk) and thrombopenia (hemorragic risk). There are also attacks on heart and nervous system.
Treatment consists in stomach wash and hospitalization.We can use anticolchicine antibodies.