Research - Crocus sativus / Saffron
Phytotherapic use of the Crocus sativus L. (Saffron) and its potential applications: A brief overview
Sheila Leone Lucia Recinella Annalisa Chiavaroli Giustino Orlando Claudio Ferrante Lidia Leporini Luigi Brunetti Luigi Menghini
Crocus sativus L. (Saffron) has long been known for multiple target therapeutic uses. The plant metabolism is well investigated and the main metabolites related to saffron organoleptic qualities are crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin, and safranal. Particularly, the most abundant of them, such as crocin and safranal, are investigated for their multiple biological activities and known as potential drugs. We aimed to review the constituent features of the plant, along with its potential therapeutic effects in depression, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, cancer, and sexual dysfunction. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Medline, Scopus, and EMBASE, with particular attention to preclinical and clinical studies. Although saffron and its components showed potential clinical applications, further investigations are necessary to confirm the effective use of “Red Gold” and its real applications in clinical practice.
Conclusion - In summary, saffron and its components show significant pharmacological properties and could exert potential therapeutic effects in a wide spectrum of diseases, such as depression, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and sexual dysfunction. Despite there being promising preclinical results, further investigations are necessary to confirm the effective use of “Red Gold” and its possible applications in clinics
Source : Phytotherapy Research
Link to Full Article
Crocus sativus L. Versus Methylphenidate in Treatment of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind Pilot Study
Sara Baziar, Ali Aqamolaei, Ebrahim Khadem, Seyyed Hosein Mortazavi, Sina Naderi, Erfan Sahebolzamani, Amirhosein Mortezaei
, Shakiba Jalilevand, Mohammad-Reza Mohammadi, Mahsa Shahmirzadi, and Shahin Akhondzadeh
Objective: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence. About 30% of patients do not respond to stimulants or cannot tolerate their side effects. Thus, alternative medication, like herbal medicine, should be considered. The aim of this trial is to compare the safety and efficacy of Crocus sativus (saffron) versus methylphenidate in improving symptoms of children with ADHD.
Methods: In a 6-week randomized double-blind study, 54 patients (children 6–17 years old) with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnosis of ADHD were randomly assigned to receive either 20–30 mg/d (20 mg/d for <30 kg and 30 mg/d for >30 kg) methylphenidate (MPH) or 20–30 mg/d saffron capsules depending on weight (20 mg/d for <30 kg and 30 mg/d for >30 kg). Symptoms were assessed using the Teacher and Parent Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS-IV) at baseline and weeks 3 and 6.
Results: Fifty patients completed the trial. General linear model repeated measures showed no significant difference between the two groups on Parent and Teacher Rating Scale scores (F = 0.749, df = 1.317, p = 0.425, and F = 0.249, df = 1.410, p = 0.701, respectively). Changes in Teacher and Parent ADHD Rating Scale scores from baseline to the study end were not significantly different between the saffron group and the MPH group (p = 0.731 and p = 0.883, respectively). The frequency of adverse effects was similar between saffron and MPH groups.
Conclusion: Short-term therapy with saffron capsule showed the same efficacy compared with methylphenidate. Nevertheless, larger controlled studies with longer treatment periods are necessary for future studies.
Source : Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Link to Full Article
Protective effect of crocin against d-galactose-induced aging in mice
Elaheh Mohammadi,1 Soghra Mehri,2 Hasan Badie Bostan,1 and Hossein Hosseinzadeh2
Objective:Aging is a multifactorial phenomenon, which attribute to different diseases and abnormalities in living systems. Oxidative stress, which is an important factor in aging, exacerbates this process via different mechanisms. Crocin (CR), one of the active components of saffron showed strong antioxidant effects. In the present study, anti-aging property of crocin was investigated in mice.
Materials and Methods:The model of aging was induced using administration of d-galactose (500 mg/kg, s. c.) for 42 days. Animals were treated with crocin (10, 20, 40 mg/kg, i.p.) during treatment with d-galactose. At the end of treatment, levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) as a lipid peroxidation marker and glutathione content (GSH) in the liver and brain were measured. Also, biochemical factors including liver enzymes (ALT and AST), male sex hormones including testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-SO4) and pro-inflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor -α (TNF-α) and interlukine-6 (IL-6) in serum, were evaluated.
Results:Administration of d-galactose led to induction of lipid peroxidation in liver and brain tissues, as well as elevation of AST, ALT, and pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduction of male sex hormones levels in serum. Interestingly, treatment of animals with crocin (10, 20 and 40 mg/kg) diminished lipid peroxidation in the liver and brain tissues while elevated GSH content. Also, a decline in serum levels of TNF-α and IL-6 and an elevation of male sex hormones were observed following treatment with crocin.
Conclusion:Administration of crocin reduced d-galactose-induced aging in mice through inhibition of oxidative stress, reduction of inflammation and elevation of sex hormones.
Source : Avicenna J Phytomed.
Link to Full Article
Saffron improved depression and reduced homocysteine level in patients with major depression: A Randomized, double-blind study
Gholamali Jelodar,*,1 Zahra Javid,1 Ali Sahraian,2 and Sina Jelodar
Objectives:A correlation between hyperhomocysteinemia, and depression has been reported. Saffron (Crocus sativus) is recommended for treatment of depression; hence, in this study the effect of co-administration of saffron and fluoxetine on plasma homocysteine and depression was evaluated.
Material and methods:This was a 4-week randomized and double-blind clinical trial which was conducted from March 2013 to February 2014. In this trial, 40 male and females (20-55 years old) diagnosed with severe depression were selected and following filing the Beck form, were randomly divided into two groups. Experimental group was treated with fluoxetine 20 mg/day and saffron 30 mg /day and the control group received placebo and fluoxetine 20 mg/day for four weeks. Before treatment and at the end of the study, fasting blood samples were collected. For females, blood samples were collected on the third day of their menstrual cycle.
Results:A significant reduction of homocysteine levels was observed in both sex in the experimental group compared to before treatment (p<0.04), while no such significant change was observed in the control group. A Beck questionnaire value showed lower level in both groups on the last day of treatment as compared to before treatment. There was no significant difference between the two groups in Beck value neither before nor after treatment.
Conclusion:Saffron has beneficial effects on depression and homocysteine level in patients with major depression.
Source : Avicenna J Phytomed.
Link to Full Article
The Efficacy of Saffron in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Depression: A Meta-analysis
Barbara Tóth, Péter Hegyi, Tamás Lantos, Zsolt Szakács, Beáta Kerémi, Gábor Varga, Judit Tenk, Erika Pétervári,
Márta Balaskó, Zoltán Rumbus, Zoltán Rakonczay, Emese Réka Bálint, Tivadar Kiss, Dezső Csupor
Herbal products, especially Hypericum perforatum extracts, have been widely used as first-line treatments for mild to moderate depression. Recently, several randomized, controlled clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of another plant, saffron (Crocus sativus), in mild to moderate depression. We have carried out a literature review of currently available published randomized, controlled clinical trials to give an up-to-date evaluation of the efficacy of saffron in mild to moderate depression, compared to placebo or routinely used antidepressants. The meta-analysis is reported according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines using the PICO (patients, intervention, comparison, outcome) format and was conducted using the statistical programs Comprehensive Meta-analysis and RevMan. PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science databases were searched for relevant studies. Only placebo or active controlled, randomized clinical studies involving patients suffering from mild to moderate depression and using pharmacological doses of saffron per os were included. Hedgesʼ g was used to calculate effect sizes. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration tool, and heterogeneity was tested by both performing the Cochranʼs Q test and calculating Higginsʼ I2 indicator. Eleven randomized trials were included in the qualitative analysis, and nine were pooled for statistical analysis. According to the present meta-analysis, saffron has a significant effect on the severity of depression. Available data from randomized, controlled clinical trials support that saffron is significantly more effective than placebo (g = 0.891; 95% CI: 0.369 – 1.412, p = 0.001), and non-inferior to tested antidepressant drugs (g = − 0.246; 95% CI: − 0.495 – 0.004, p = 0.053).
Source : Journal Planta Medica
Link to Full Article
Effectiveness of a Crocus sativus Extract on Burn Wounds in Rats
Alemzadeh, Esmat; Oryan, Ahmad
Crocus sativus is a spice with various pharmacological properties. Crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal are the main compositions of saffron that have recently been considered in the therapy of many diseases. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis revealed presence of these compounds in our saffron extract. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of saffron on burn wound healing at an in vivo model. Saffron was topically applied on burn wounds in rats; the percentage of wound closure, wound contraction, and the levels of main cytokines and growth factors were measured. The saffron extract was also applied to evaluate the proliferation and migration of human dermal fibroblast (HDF) cells using in vitro scratch assay and resulted in active proliferation and migration of the HDF cells in a dose-dependent manner. A clear enhanced healing was observed in the saffron-treated wounds compared to the silver sulfadiazine and negative control groups. Decreased expression of interleukin-1β and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) during the inflammatory phase demonstrated the role of saffron in promoting wound healing. In addition, enhanced TGF-β1 expression during the proliferative phase and basic fibroblast growth factor during the remodeling phase represented regenerative and anti-scarring role of saffron, respectively. Our histological and biochemical findings also confirmed that saffron significantly stimulated burn wound healing by modulating healing phases. Therefore, saffron can be an optimal option in
promoting skin repair and regeneration. Application of this herbal medicinal drug should be encouraged because of its availability and negligible side effects
Source : Planta Medica
Link to Full Article
Protective effects of saffron extract and crocin supplementation on fatty liver tissue of high-fat diet-induced obese rats
- Maryam Mashmoul,
- Azrina AzlanEmail author,
- Norhafizah Mohtarrudin,
- Barakatun Nisak Mohd Yusof,
- Huzwah Khaza’ai,
- Hock Eng Khoo,
- Mehdi Farzadnia and
- Mohammad Taher Boroushaki
Background Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus sativus L. flower which commonly used as a natural remedy to enhance health and even fights disease in the Middle-East and Southeast Asian countries.
Methods This study was aimed to investigate protective effect of saffron extract and crocin in fatty liver tissue of high-fat diet induced obese rats. A total of 36 healthy male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into six groups. Two groups served as controls, a normal diet (ND) and a high-fat diet (HFD). The other four groups were each supplemented with saffron extract and crocin at concentrations of 40 and 80 mg/kg body weight/day for 8 weeks. All groups except ND were fed with HFD until end of the study. At baseline, blood sample was collected for determination of levels of hepatic marker enzymes, including aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatise and albumin. Liver sample was collected, weighed and stained with haematoxylin and eosin for further histopathological examination.
Results Saffron extract and crocin at concentrations of 40 and 80 mg/kg had dose-dependently alleviated levels of liver enzymes and histopathological changes in diet-induced obese rat model compared to control (HFD group).
Conclusion This study suggested that saffron extract and crocin supplements have hepatoprotective effect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and HFD-induced liver damage.
Source : BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Link to Full Article
A double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) in the treatment of anxiety and depression
Mohsen Mazidi1, 9 / Maryam Shemshian2 / Seyed Hadi Mousavi3 / Abdolreza Norouzy2 / Tayebe Kermani4 / Toktam Moghiman2 / Akram Sadeghi5 / Naghme Mokhber6 / Majid Ghayour-Mobarhan2, 7 / Gordon A. A. Ferns8
1Key State Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang, Beijing, P.R. China
2Biochemistry of Nutrition Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
3Pharmacological Research Center of Medicinal Plant, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
4Department of Anatomy and Cell biology, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran
5Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
6Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
7Cardiovascular Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
8Division of Medical Education, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, University of Brighton, Brighten, UK
9Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, International College, University of Chinese Academy of Science (IC-UCAS), West Beichen Road, Chaoyang, P.R. China
BACKGROUND:Depression and anxiety are prevalent serious psychiatric disorders. Several drugs are used to treat these conditions but these are often associated with serious side effects. For this reason alternative therapies, including herbal medication such as saffron, have been proposed. We aimed to assess the effects of saffron extract for the treatment of anxiety and depression using a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial design.
METHODS:Sixty adult patients with anxiety and depression were randomized to receive a 50 mg saffron capsule (Crocus sativus L. stigma) or a placebo capsule twice daily for 12 weeks. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaires were used at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks after initiating medication. 54 subjects completed the trial.
RESULTS:Saffron supplements had a significant effect on the BDI and BAI scores of subjects in comparison to placebo at the 12 week time-point (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS:Saffron appears to have a significant impact in the treatment of anxiety and depression disorder. Side effects were rare.
Source : Journal Complement Integr Med.
Link to Full Article
The effect of Crocus sativus (saffron) on the severity of premenstrual syndrome
Soheila Pirdadeh Beiranvanda, , Nabiollah Shams Beiranvandb, , Zahra Behboodi Moghadamc, ,Mehdi Birjandid, , , Seddigheh Azharie, , Elham Rezaeif, , Ali Nazar Salehniag, , Somayyeh Beiranvandg,
Premenstrual syndrome is one of the most common problems for women during their reproductive age and has wider impacts affecting their family and their work. Herbal products are a suggested way of treating the syndrome. This research was carried out to identify whether saffron could have an effect on the severity of premenstrual syndrome among female students.
This randomized triple-blind controlled clinical trial was carried out with 78 students aged 18–35 years residing in university accommodation. The intervention group received capsules containing 30 mg of dried extract of saffron stigma once a day and the control group received placebo capsules for two menstrual cycles. The data gathering instrument consisted of questionnaire, the DASS21 scale, and premenstrual symptoms assessment form.
At the beginning of the study, the two groups did not differ significantly in terms of their mean severity of PMS (P = 0.81). At the end of the study, the changes of the mean severity of PMS were significantly different compared with those in the beginning:P < 0.001 for the intervention group, and p = 0.04 for the control group. In total, the two groups had significant differences in terms of changes in the mean severity of PMS over time (P < 0.001).
The results of this study suggest that saffron reduces the severity of PMS symptoms, but in order to prove its effectiveness for the treatment of this syndrome, further research is warranted.
Source : European Journal of Integrative Medicine
Link to Full Article
Aqueous Extract of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Increases Brain Dopamine and Glutamate Concentrations in Rats
Hosseinali Ettehadi1, Seyedeh Nargesolsadat Mojabi2, Mina Ranjbaran2, Jamal Shams3, Hedayat Sahraei2*, Mahdi Hedayati4, Farzad Asefi5
Recent studies involving human and animal models have identified that saffron helps in the improvement of depression. Antidepressants are known to function in part by increasing brain serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine concentrations. Therefore, to identify the cellular and molecular mechanism(s) underlying this property of saffron, we measured changes in rat brain dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and glutamate concentrations after administration of varying doses of an aqueous extract of saffron stigma. Male Wistar rats (250 ± 30 g) were administered a single dose of saffron extract (5, 25, 50, 100, 150, and 250 mg/kg, i.p.), fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), and/or desipramine (50 mg/kg, i.p.) and were sacrificed 30 min later. Brains were removed, homogenized, and centrifuged at 4˚C. The supernatant was used for subsequent neurotransmitter detection by ELISA. Our results indicated that the aqueous extract of saffron (50, 100, 150 and 250 mg/kg, i.p.) increased brain dopamine concentration in a dose-dependent manner compared with saline. In addition, the brain glutamate concentration increased in response to the highest dose of the extract (250 mg/kg, i.p.). Interestingly, the extract had no effect on brain serotonin or norepinephrine concentration. Our findings show that the aqueous extract of saffron contains an active component that can trigger production of important neurotransmitters in brain, namely, dopamine and glutamate. In addition, these results provide a cellular basis for reports concerning the antidepressant properties of saffron extract in humans and animals.
Source : Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science
Link to Full Article
The Effect of Crocus sativus L. and Its Constituents on Memory: Basic Studies and Clinical Applications
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Panepistimiou 3, Biopolis, 41500 Larissa, Greece
Memory-related disorders are a common public health issue. Memory impairment is frequent in degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson disease), cerebral injuries, and schizophrenia. The dried stigma of the plant Crocus sativus L. (C. sativus), commonly known as saffron, is used in folk medicine for various purposes. Several lines of evidence suggest that C. sativus and its constituents are implicated in cognition. Here we critically review advances in research of these emerging molecular targets for the treatment of memory disorders, and discuss their advantages over currently used cognitive enhancers as well remaining challenges. Current analysis has shown that C. sativus and its components might be a promising target for cognition impairments.
Source : Journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Link to Full Article
The preventive effects of hydroalcoholic extract of saffron on hematological parameters of experimental asthmatic rats
Somayyeh Vosooghi , Maryam Mahmoudabady , Ali Neamati* , Heydar Aghababa
Objective: Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory airways distinguished by edema and infiltration of inflammatory immune cells. To test our hypothesis about the anti-inflammatory effect of saffron, we examined effects of Crocus sativus (C. sativus) extract as a prophylactic anti-inflammatory agent in sensitized rats.
Materials and Methods: To induce experimental asthma, rats were sensitized with injection and inhalation of ovalbumin (OA). Forty male Wistar rats were divided into 5 groups (n=8 for each): control, sensitized (asthma), and sensitized and pretreated with three different concentrations of extract, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg, 2 times a week (group asthma+50EX, group asthma+100EX, and group asthma+200EX). After 32 days, total white blood cells (WBC) counts, red blood cells (RBC), and platelet counts in blood were examined.
Results: Total WBC number and eosinophil and neutrophil percentage in blood were increased, but lymphocyte decreased in sensitized animals compared with those of control group (p<0.05 to p<0.001). We observed also elevated levels in RBC and platelet counts after sensitization in the asthma group. Pretreatment of sensitized rats in all concentrations decreased WBC count which was significant in first two concentrations (p<0.01 compared with group asthma). All concentrations of extract decreased eosinophil percentage significantly (p<0.001 compared with group asthma), however, for neutrophil percentage this improvement was not significant. Lymphocyte percentage increased in group asthma+100EX compared with group asthma (p<0.05). Moreover, in all concentrations, the extract reduced RBC and platelet count in pretreated sensitized rats compared with group asthma (p<0.01 to p<0.001).
Conclusion: Our findings indicated that the extract of C. sativus could be useful to prevent asthma as an anti-inflammatory treatment.
Source : Aviceena Journal of Phytomedicine
Link to Full Study