The medical applications of saffron have been noted in folk medicine for the treatment of various health conditions.1
A recent study2 was conducted to assess the efficacy of the Saffron petal in the treatment of mild-to-moderate stress in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomised trial consisting of forty adult outpatients.
After 6 weeks, the group who took the petal of the Crocus sativus produced a significantly better outcome than the placebo group. Also, there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of observed side effects.
Scientific findings from another clinical trial3 conducted indicate that saffron supplements can improve mood symptoms in adults. It was revealed that across five randomised trials, saffron supplementation significantly balanced mood symptoms compared to a placebo control condition.
Saffron was found to be a potentially effective and tolerable alternative treatment for anxious distress associated with stress when compared to Citalopram, a major prescription drug4. 60 patients over 6 weeks were assigned either saffron (30 mg/day) or citalopram (40 mg/day). Results showed that patients who received either saffron or citalopram showed significant improvement in mood, with no significant difference between the two groups.
Another study5 assessed the efficacy of saffron in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Forty-six patients over 16 weeks were randomly assigned to receive capsule saffron 30 mg/day (15 mg twice per day) or capsule placebo (two capsules per day). At least in the short-term, saffron produced a safe and significantly better outcome on cognitive function than placebo.
1. Encarnacion, M.F. (2010) Saffron- a natural dye of uncommon significance, Histologics, 43(1), 22-23.
2. Moshiri, E., Basti, A. A., Noorbala, A. A., Jamshidi, A. H., Hesameddin, Abbasi S., and Akhondzadeh, S. Crocus sativus L. (petal) in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2006;13(9-10):607-611.
3. Heather Ann Hausenblas, Ph.D., Debbie Saha, B.S., Pamela Jean Dubyak, M.S., and Stephen Douglas Anton, Ph.D. Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.
4. Ghajar A., Neishabouri SM., Velayati N., Jahangard L., Matinnia N., Haghighi M., Ghaleiha A., Afarideh M., Salimi S., Meysamie A., Akhondzadeh S.. Crocus sativus L. versus Citalopram in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Anxious Distress: A Double-Blind, Controlled Clinical Trial.