Autumn crocus

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 25.06.2021

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Colchicum autumnale L.

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Autumn crocus or autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is a widespread perennial herbaceous plant native to central and southern Europe, belonging to the timothy family (Colchicaceae). It reaches heights of 8 to 30 cm. The narrow, lanceolate leaves appear together with the fruit set in early summer and are up to 40 centimetres long. The autumn crocus produces pale pink to purple flowers from September to October.

As a poisonous plant, autumn crocus regularly leads to cases of poisoning. The autumn crocus was poisonous plant of the year 201o. Extracts of the autumn crocus are used medicinally: it is one of the oldest rheumatism remedies, here there are references in the Papyrus Ebers, about 1550 BC, by the ancient Egyptians against joint diseases and gout, in ancient Greece as a laxative.
Colchicum autumnale L. is the parent plant of Colchici semen, Colchici tuber and Colchici flos the autumn crocus flowers.

ESCOP monograph: no revision

HMPC monograph: no revision

Commission E-monograph: positive evaluation for auten gout attack; Familial Mediterranean fever.

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Alkaloids, Tropolonal alkaloids: Colchicine, Flavonoids

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