Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Published September 18, 1986.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Colchici semen, autumn crocus (meadow saffron) seed.
Colchici tuber, autumn crocus (meadow saffron) tuber.
Colchici flos, autumn crocus (meadow saffron) flower.

Composition of Drug

The drug consists of the dried seeds harvested in June or July, or the cut and dried tubers harvested in July or August, or the fresh flowers harvested in late summer and autumn of Colchicum autumnale L. [Fam. Liliaceae], as well as their preparations in effective dosage. Colchicum autumnale contains colchicine as active ingredient: at least 0.4 percent in seeds (DAC 1979, standard delivery).


Acute gout attack, familial Mediterranean fever.



Note: Care must be observed with old and weakened patients, as well as with those who suffer from heart, kidney or gastrointestinal conditions.

Side Effects

Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, leukopenia; with extended use, skin alterations, agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, myopathy and alopecia.

Interactions with Other Drugs

None known.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

For an acute attack, an initial oral dose corresponding to 1 mg colchicine, followed by 0.5 - 1.5 mg every 1 - 2 hours until pain subsides.

Total daily dosage must not surpass 8 mg of colchicine.

For familial Mediterranean fever, prophylactic and therapeutic purposes, dosage corresponding to 0.5 - 1.5 mg of colchicine.

Mode of Administration

Comminuted drug, freshly pressed juice and other galenical preparations taken orally.

Duration of Administration

No repetition of treatment for gout within 3 days.


Inhibitor of mitosis.