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Information @ a Glance

  • Colchicum plant has a large, ovate, solid, fleshy corm (tuber, according to some authors). The leaves are dark-green, very smooth, obtuse, above a foot long, 1 1/2 inches broad, keeled, and produced in the spring along with the capsules. The flowers are several, radical, leafless, and bright purple, with a long, white tube appearing in the autumn without the leaves.
  • The capsules 3 and distinct, though forming together a single, oblong, elliptical fruit, with intermediate fissures. The seeds are whitish and polished. Gloriosa superba belongs to Colchicaceae family and it occurs naturally in Africa, in India, and southeastern Asia, and is nowadays distributed wide throughout the tropics, and worldwide as a pot plant.
  • Colchicum root is About 25 Mm. (1 inch) long, ovoid, flattish, and with a groove on one side; externally brownish and wrinkled; internally white and solid; often in transverse slices, reniform in shape, and, breaking with a short, mealy fracture; inodorous; taste sweetish, bitter, and somewhat acrid. Colchicum seed is Subglobular, about 2 Mm. ( 1/12 inch) thick, very slightly pointed at the hilum; reddish-brown, finely pitted, internally whitish; very hard and tough; inodorous; taste bitter and somewhat acrid.

Extraction & Growth

  • Three Different Methods for extraction of Colchicine have been studied, and it was found that extraction with petroleum ether and chloroform is the best and most reliable method. Colchicine is readily converted into the corresponding hydroxymethylene derivative, colchiceine, by hydrolysis of the methoxymethylene group in dilute acid solution. The solution containing colchicine and colchiceine is extracted by shaking with three separate lots of 3 ml. chloroform.
  • Gloriosa superba L. is a semi-woody herbaceous branched climber, reaching approximately 5 meters in height. It is also planted outdoors in the southern United States. In cool temperate countries, it is treated as a greenhouse or conservatory plant. In Bangladesh the plant is naturally found to grow in Sal Forests of Dhaka and Gazipur districts. G. superba is considered to be a herbaceous plant, little attention is given towards its propagation and culture. It is commonly grown from seeds and tubers.

Application & Technology

  • The daily application of colchicine is the standard therapy for prophylaxis of attacks and amyloid deposition in familial Mediterranean fever. Colchicine is the standard drug used to prevent febrile attacks and amyloidosis. We (an interdisciplinary group of German and Turkish physicians) analyzed the data and graded the evidence on the efficacy and adverse effects of colchicine therapy in children and adolescents with FMF.
  • Rapid toxicity technologies use various biological organisms and chemical reactions to indicate the presence of toxic contaminants. The toxic contaminants are indicated by a change or appearance of color or a change in intensity. As part of this verification test, ToxScreen-II was subjected to various concentrations of contaminants such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, rodenticides, pharmaceuticals, nerve agents, and biological toxins.


  • A subsequent review of medical records revealed that a third death from colchicine toxicity in a patient treated at the Oregon clinic also occurred in March and likely was associated with the same compounding error. These deaths highlight the potential risk from use of IV colchicine for back pain and the possibly fatal consequences of measuring errors in compounding pharmacy products.
  • World demand for colchicine is still appreciably high today for the treatment of gout and it is sourced as a raw material for the manufacture of a drug widely used in Europe for the treatment of spasticity and muscular contractures. Colchicine is also known as an antimitotic agent and its citotoxic properties were discovered in 1889 by the Italian scientist Pernice.

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