Crocuses produce an exotic and expensive spice known as a type of saffron. Crocus flower also produces colchicine, which is used as a toxic chemical in medicine, including to treat gout.
Plant growing techniques have produced a wide variety of crocuses. Most have cup-shaped flowers, but some can also be star-shaped. The flowers are purple, blue, lavender, pink, orange, yellow or white.
Crocus Flower and Plants
Crocuses belong to the genus Crocus, which is part of the iris family. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, but also grows in many parts of the world.
Crocus plants often have colorful flowers. The plant blooms in winter, spring, or autumn, depending on the species. Some flowers appear even if there is snow on the ground. Plants usually have a white line running through the middle and long narrow leaves.
The dormant underground form of crocus is an onion that produces new leaves and new flowers when environmental conditions are favorable. Crocuses can be grown both in gardens and indoors, in containers.
Crocus bulbs are not poisonous. However, it is necessary to keep them away from children and pets. Because if the onions are eaten, stomach and intestinal disorders may occur.
Bulbs and Bulbs: What’s the Difference?
A planted piece of crocus is often called a bulb, but technically it is an onion. Both bulbs and bulbs are generally round and are a solid structure that stores food for the plant that thrives underground. Both have the ability to produce new leaves, stems, and flowers.
Despite their similar functions, there are differences between bulbs and bulbs. Most notably, the bulbs, like onions, consist of a series of layers or scales.
The spice known as saffron is produced from a plant that blooms in the fall. Other crocuses that exist in nature are thought to have developed through selective cultivation. It appears to have emerged in Greece or Southwest Asia.
Some people grow saffron in their garden. The flowers are purple, blue, pink or white. The flowers are sterile. Herb bulbs can be divided to make new onions.
It is evaluated by the taste, aroma and color of saffron. Saffron spice is also used as a fabric dye. Hillocks are usually collected manually. This makes the spice expensive, as it is labor intensive. In fact, it is said to be the most expensive spice in the world. A small amount is enough to sweeten the food.
Use of Saffron
Saffron has a complex taste that is perceived differently by different people. The flavor depends on the individual’s taste as well as the quality and freshness of the spice. Also, seasoning should be used in very small amounts.
Saffron is very popular in Arabic, Turkish, Indian and Spanish cuisines. The spice is used to flavor products such as curry, paella and other rice dishes, drinks, ice cream, puddings and bakery products.
Autumn crocuses are another plant with beautiful flowers. However, the flowers do not belong to the Crocus genus. The scientific name for autumn crocus is Colchicum Autumnale. True crocuses belong to the iris family, autumn crocuses belong to the lily family.
One of the alternative names for autumn crocuses is “naked ladies”. This name is given to crocus flowers because they are leafless. The leaves appear in the spring and summer, but not when they bloom in the fall. Autumn crocus bulbs have a waxy surface, while true crocuses have dry, crushed surfaces.
An Attractive Garden Plant
Beloved despite their dangers, autumn crocuses are a beautiful garden plant. The plant blooms in September. The flowers are usually pink or blue-pink, sometimes white. The plant typically grows in moist meadows and is also known as meadow saffron. It is native to Eurasia, but like real crocuses grow elsewhere in the world.
Autumn Crocus, Colchicine and Gut
Autumn crocus contains poisonous alkaloids. All parts of the plant are toxic, but toxins are most often found in onions. The main poison in the plant is colchicine. High concentrations of colchicine can be dangerous and even fatal. In low doses, it has medicinal benefits.
Colchicine is a prescription drug used to treat gout attacks. Gout is also known as gouty arthritis because it affects the joints like other types of arthritis. The disease is caused by excessive uric acid in the blood. Acid causes inflammation in the joints. Symptoms of this inflammation are redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. A gout attack comes on suddenly, lasts for hours or days, and is usually very painful.
Colchicine was isolated from autumn crocus in 1820. Long before this time, the herb was used medicinally for a variety of health problems, including gout. However, its use is risky.
Medicinal doses of colchicine relieve gout pain and inflammation. It is used to prevent and treat gout attacks. It is beneficial for patients who cannot take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Although colchicine reduces or eliminates pain, it is not classified as a pain reliever.
Although colchicine has the potential to help, it also has the potential to cause harm. A patient should use colchicine only under the guidance of a doctor. If a person has certain health problems or is taking certain medications, colchicine should not be used.
Possible Side Effects
Colchicine can cause side effects. The most common are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. Sometimes more serious side effects can occur, such as:
- Muscle pain
- Unusual bleeding
- Sore throat, fever, and chills
- Gray lips, gray tongue
If any of the symptoms are severe, a doctor should be consulted. The effects can be due to an overdose of colchicine, as well as side effects from a regular dose.
Other symptoms of a toxic dose of colchicine are slow breathing and slow heartbeat. In severe poisoning, low blood pressure, kidney and liver failure may occur. In very severe cases, the heart can stop beating. It is important to keep the medicine away from children and pets.