What Are the Medical Uses of Colchicum?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Colchicum refers to a genus of plants, some of which are valuable for their medicinal properties and can be used to address a variety of issues. It is used as part of homeopathic medicine, and extracts from the plant are also used to make a drug called colchicine. One of the primary medical uses of colchicum is the treatment of joint problems; it is mainly used to relieve gout, but it is also known to work well for rheumatism and arthritis. It is also often helpful in clearing up problems with the digestive system such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and colitis. Wounds to the skin can also be treated with an external application of the powdered root of the plant.

People with conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the joints are particularly well-suited for treatment with colchicum or colchicine, the medication made from an extract of the plant. It is often recommended for patients suffering from gout, where uric acid builds up and crystallizes in the joints, causing pain, swelling, and tenderness. Those who have joint pain and stiffness related to rheumatism and arthritis also often benefit from its use. It is important to be careful not to take more than the recommended dosage, as it can make one ill and may even be toxic if too much is taken.


A wide variety of digestive issues can be treated with colchicum. It can help reduce feelings of nausea and any associated vomiting. Those suffering from the painful, loose stools of diarrhea may find relief by taking it, and it can even be effective in more severe cases such as those caused by dysentery.

Colchicum can help reduce uncomfortable gas pains or flatulence, particularly if they are causing swelling in the abdomen. It can also be taken to soothe the burning and discomfort of heartburn. Ulcerative colitis, a condition where the large intestine is afflicted with chronic ulcerations which in turn lead to severe pain and cramping, often responds well to treatment with colchicum.

Skin injuries and wounds are another area where treatment with colchicum can be effective. Applied topically, it can help speed up the healing of open sores or cuts. The most effective method is to use a powder made from the dried roots of the plant, which can be sprinkled over the injured area.



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