Colchicine is a drug that’s normally used to treat gout, arthritis and cirrhosis, but it’s proving so effective in treating Covid-19 that it’s been branded the new ‘miracle drug’.
“The use of colchicine is associated with statistically significant reductions in the risk of death and hospitalisation,” according to a group of Researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada.
The main ingredient of Colchicine is wild saffron which is a bulbous plant that belongs to the colchicáceas family. It’s native to Europe, is easily identified by its large pink flowers and it grows in abundance in Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands.
“It’s common to see carpets of Colchicum filifolium pink flowers in Mallorca but until now it hasn’t been used for the extraction of colchicine," explains UIB Botany Professor Juan Rita Larrucea. “In October it’s difficult to walk through the Serra de Tramuntana and not see this plant, especially in the Sierra de Na Burguesa, Cap Blanc, Sa Comuna de Bunyola and La Victòria.”
The Canadian ‘Colcorona’ study included 4,488 patients in a non-contact, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled system designed to determine whether colchicine could reduce the risk of serious complications associated with coronavirus.
In patients diagnosed with the disease using colchicine reduced hospitalisations by 25%, curbed the need for mechanical ventilation by 50% and reduced deaths by 44%, making it the world's first oral drug that can be used to treat outpatients with the virus.
"Our study shows the effectiveness of colchicine treatment in preventing the phenomenon of 'cytokine storm' and reduces the complications associated with Covid-19,” said Dr Jean Claude Tardif, Director of the HI Research Centre and lead Researcher on the ‘Colcorona’ study.
Wild saffron doesn’t contain the spice that’s in the saffron used for cooking and should only ever be taken on the advice of a doctor, because it is extremely toxic and can cause severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and even heart failure.