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Scientific Name:
Crocus sativus
Family Name:
Iridaceae
Common Name:
saffron
Safety Data
Adverse Effects & Toxicity
An ethnobotanical study conducted in northeastern Morocco lists Crocus sativus (saffron) among the medicinal plants with potential toxicity. Kharchoufa 2021
Crocetin and safranal, but not crocin and picrocrocin, reversibly inhibited human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K+ channels by up to 37.74 ± 4.14%, suggesting possible increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias. Jin 2020
A case is presented of two deaths due to colchicine intoxication, following collection and consumption of wild saffron mistaken for saffron. Giorgetti 2019
An evaluation of the effects of a saffron extract, among those of other Indian spices, on the color stability of dental composites showed indirect resin-based composites (Adoro) exhibit less stainability when compared to direct resin-based composites (G-aenial). Thaliyadeth 2019
Toxicological effects of saffron and its constituents are reviewed. Bostan 2017
Crocin (200-600 mg/kg daily) or safranal (0.075-0.225 ml/kg on gestational days 6-15), administered to pregnant mice intraperitoneally, induced skeletal malformations in mouse embryos. Moallem 2016
In the study of saffron safety regarding the autonomic control of the heart, saffron (50-200 mg/kg/d, orally) was found to not only be not harmful, but possibly improve the stability of heart sympathovagal balance, in normal rat. Joukar 2015
Safranal (0.1-1 ml/kg for 3 weeks, intraperitoneally) showed no toxic effects on humoral and cellular immune responses, in mice. Riahi-Zanjani 2015
The prevalence and clinical profile of contact dermatitis in North Indian (Kashmir Valley) saffron workers (n=110) were evaluated. Hassan 2015
Saffron aggravated hemoglobin glycation, thus showing proglycation properties, in vitro. Naderi 2014
In the study of the toxicity of saffron during lactation, oral administration to nursing mice (500-2000 mg/kg/day for 3 weeks) induced histopathologic changes in the kidney, but not liver, of the neonates. Nursing mothers are recommended to avoid high doses of this spice. Bahmani 2014
The flavonol and anthocyanin composition of saffron waste material (tepals, stamens, and styles) was determined; an ethanolic extract of the material, but not other extracts, at the highest concentration tested reduced the viability of fibroblast cells, in vitro. Serrano-Díaz 2014
Acute LD50 values of orally administered safranal are reported as 21.42 mL/kg in male mice, 11.42 mL/kg in female mice and 5.53 mL/kg in male rats (practically non-toxic); in the 21-day subacute study, decreases in RBC counts and pathological changes to the kidney and lung were observed. Hosseinzadeh 2013
No major adverse events are reported following administration of 20-mg crocin tablets to human volunteers for one month. Mohamadpour 2013
Only minor adverse effects have been reported for Crocus sativus, according to the overview of systematic reviews of the safety of herbal medicines. Posadzki 2013
A case of contact depigmentation following use of liquid kumkum (a colouring usually made from turmeric or saffron used for social/religious markings) is reported. Pandhi 2011
Two lipid transfer protein variants were identified as allergens in subjects with saffron hypersensitivity. Gómez-Gómez 2010
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Rasheed Rabata
April 2019
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
November 2021