Colchicine is a highly poisonous alkaloid, originally extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum. It was commonly used to treat rheumatic complaints and especially gout but also had cathartic and emetic effects. It was first described as a treatment for gout in De Materia Medica of Padanius Dioscorides.

Colchicine was first isolated in 1820 by two French chemists. It was later identified as a tricyclic alkaloid and its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects for gout were linked to it binding with the protein tubulin. It is FDA approved for the treatment of acute gout and also for familial Mediterranean fever, amyloidosis, and scleroderma. The effects of an overdose can be serious, including fever, severe and bloody diarrhea, severe vomiting and fever. High doses can also damage bone marrow and lead to anemia.

It also has been used for inducing polyploidy in plant cells during cellular division.