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Scientific Name:
Crocus sativus
Family Name:
Iridaceae
Common Name:
saffron
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Clinical Trials
Crocus sativus (saffron) intake demonstrated a significant decrease in the liver enzyme aspartate aminotransferase and did not have a significant effect on other enzymes levels, including alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase, according to eight randomized controlled studies (N = 463). Hasani 2021
Based on five clinical trials, saffron (Crocus sativus) can have a positive impact on facilitating childbirth with potential to increase cervical readiness, stimulate labor onset, reduce pain intensity, and shorten the duration of labor. Ivari 2021
Reports on clinical trails suggest that Crocus sativus (saffron) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects and that it's main bioactive components are crocetin, crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal. Roshanravan 2021
A meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled trials concluded that Crocus sativus (saffron) supplementation significantly decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), reducing DBP in a non-linear fashion. A small, clinically not important, hypotensive effect was observed. Setayesh 2021
A review of clinical and preclinical studies on the neuroprotective effects of spices, including Crocus sativus (saffron), concluded that while anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions are associated with neuroprotection, there is no consensus on whether chronic consumption guarantees safety and efficacy in neuroprotection or as an adjuvant treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Seibel 2021
In a 12-week, parallel-group, double-blind, randomised controlled trial (N=86), Crocus sativus (saffron) extract (14 mg twice daily) improved mood and psychological symptoms in perimenopausal women, including significantly reducing GCS psychological score with a 33% reduction in anxiety and a 32% reduction in depression scores and significantly reducing PANAS negative affect score. Lopresti 2021
A review of clinical and preclinical studies concluded that Crocus sativus (saffron) and its constituents (crocin, crocetin, safranal) exhibited weak effects on cardiovascular risk factors, including lowering of fasting blood glucose without significant reduction of HbA1c in type 2 diabetic patients, moderate/controversial hypolipidemic effects, negligible hypotensive effect, and inconsistent modification of metabolic syndrome parameters. Kadoglou 2021
Although the quality of systematic reviews need to be improved and effects need to be confirmed through high-quality trials, results indicate that Crocus sativa (saffron) significantly reduced fasting blood glucose, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as improved symptoms of depression, cognitive function, and sexual dysfunction, according to this meta-analysis. Lu 2021
In an eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=178,) administration of crocin (30 mg daily), a constituent of Crocus sativus (saffron), significantly decreased sensory, motor, and neuropathic pain in participants experiencing mild to severe symptomatic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Bozorgi 2021
Crocus sativus (saffron), Curcuma longa, Thymus vulgaris, Nigella sativa, and Zataria multiflora have exhibited therapeutic potential in improving and ameliorating lung injury, including effects on inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune responses, induced by sulfur mustard and other toxic chemical warfare agents according to this review of preclinical and clinical studies. Khazdair 2021
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (N=55), no significant difference in improvement was found between intervention and control groups in heumatoid arthritis patients who received pure Crocus sativus (saffron) (100 mg/day for 90 days) in addition to standard therapy (prednisolone, oral methotrexate, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, and alendronate). However, a significant difference was found in both groups in disease activity score from start of study. Sahebari 2021
A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will assess if crocin, extracted from Crocus sativus (saffron), is safe and cardioprotective for breast cancer patients undergoing anthracycline-based chemotherapy. A sample of 200 participants with breast cancer will receive either saffron total glycoside tablet or placebo. Each participant will be interviewed at baseline, after 3 months, and after 6 months. Su X 2021
In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial (N=72), administration of crocin (30 mg/day) from Crocus sativus (saffron) during chemotherapy significantly alleviated anxiety and depression while increasing leukopenia and reducing the risk of hypersensitivity reaction and neurological disorders in patients with non-metastatic breast cancer. Salek 2021
A review examines 95 clinical trials on antidepressant-like medicinal plants, listing saffron (Crocus sativus) among the most relevant species. Moragrega 2021
In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized trial (N=70), saffron (Crocus sativus) (100 mg/day) significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, aspartate (AST) and alanine (ALT) aminotransferase levels, and improved sleep, depression, and quality of life scores in type 2 diabetic obese/overweight subjects compared with placebo. Tajaddini 2021
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial (N=66), supplementation with a saffron (Crocus sativus) extract (15.5 mg/day) for 6 weeks increased time in bed; ease of getting to sleep; sleep quality, latency, and duration; and global sleep scores in subjects with mild-to-moderate sleep disorder associated with anxiety. Pachikian 2021
In a 12-week, randomized, controlled trial (N=50), crocin (15 mg twice daily) significantly decreased serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-ɑ (TNF-ɑ), and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in type-2 diabetic patients compared with placebo and baseline. Behrouz 2021
A meta-analysis of 12 of randomized controlled clinical trials (N=608) found no significant effects of saffron supplementation on serum liver enzyme levels, including those of aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, or alanine aminotransferase. Karimi 2021
A meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials found significant reductions of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels following saffron supplementation but not aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alkaline phosphatase (ALP) liver enzyme levels. Mousavi 2021
Crocin (15 mg once daily for 8 weeks) decreased disease scores in patients with mild-to-moderate obsessive-compulsive disorder similarly to fluoxetine (20 mg) in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial (N=50). Kazemi 2021
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study (N=56) found that saffron (Crocus sativus) extract (30 mg) supplementation for 8 weeks reduced depression scores and improved social relationships in healthy adults with subclinical symptoms of low mood and anxiety and/or stress. Jackson 2021
A meta-review of randomized controlled trials of plant-derived "phytoceuticals" in the treatment of psychiatric disorders found supportive evidence for the use of saffron (Crocus sativus) in major depressive disorder and for depression symptoms. Sarris 2021
In a six-week, randomized, controlled tiral (N=28), saffron (Crocus sativus) supplementation combined with resistance training increased concentrations of anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, serotonin, dopamine, and β-endorphin, as well as self-reported happiness levels, compared to resistance training alone, in young untrained males. Moghadam 2021
In a randomized controlled trial, saffron (Crocus sativus) (200 mg/day) in combination with resistance training reduced systolic blood pressure, compared with control and saffron alone, in elderly hypertensive men, an effect associated with altering vascular endothelial resistance. Hooshmand-Moghadam 2021
In a randomized controlled trial (N=120), saffron (15 mg twice daily for 2 weeks) ameliorated premenstrual dysphoric disorder similarly to fluoxetine with minimal adverse effects. Rajabi 2020
A systematic review of randomized controlled clinical trials, reviews, and meta-analyses identified one study in which saffron supplementation was associated with a decrease in the clinical parameters of rheumatoid arthritis. Letarouilly 2020
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=66), saffron (100 mg/day for 12 weeks) significantly decreased the number of tender and swollen joints, pain intensity, and disease activity scores, as well as improved erythrocyte sedimentation rate, in women with rheumatoid arthritis. Hamidi 2020
A pooled analysis of randomized clinical trials found that both saffron and crocin increased HDL-cholesterol while reducing LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and troglycerides compared to placebo but had no significant effect on blood glucose levels. Roshanravan 2020
In a randomized human trial (N=40), administration of an aqueous extract of saffron (200 mg in capsules twice per day) significantly reduced stroke severity after 4 days of treatment in acute ischemic stroke patients, an effect associated with free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties. Gudarzi 2020
A review of randomized controlled trials found moderate-strength evidence for positive effects of the use of spices (ginger, cinnamon, saffron) in rheumatoid arthritis. Nelson 2020
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N-76), saffron (100 mg daily for 12 weeks) significantly decreased serum markers of inflammation and oxidative stress (hs-CRP, MDA) and leptin, but not concentrations of liver enzymes, in subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Pour 2020
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=60), saffron powder (100 mg/day, in capsules, for 8 weeks) significantly decreased fasting blood glucose, as well as reduced inflammatory serum markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Mobasseri 2020
A review summarizes recent findings on the neuroprotective properties of crocin, found in crocus as well as Gardenia sp. flowers, including clinical and experimental studies. Kermanshahi 2020
In a placebo-controlled trial (N=60), administration for 12 weeks of crocin (30 mg/day), a saffron constituent, significantly improved craving and withdrawal symptoms scores in subjects undergoing methadone therapy for opioid addiction with no affect on cognitive function parameters. Abbaszadeh-Mashkani 2020
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (N=80), saffron (100 mg/day for 8 weeks) improved disease severity and antioxidant activity factors in patients with ulcerative colitis. Tahvilian 2020
A systematic review of 5 clinical studies (N=325) found saffron to be equally effective with donepezil and memantine in patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease, with no changes in the incidence of side effects. Avgerinos 2020
A systematic review of clinical trials found evidence for the effectiveness of a combination of Rosa damascena and Crocus sativus in functional dyspepsia. Azimi 2020
A meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials showed lack of overall effects of saffron supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein [CRP], tumor necrosis factor-a, and interleukin-6), despite the evidence of non-linear effects of saffron dosage on serum CRP concentrations. Asbaghi 2020
Saffron significantly reduced waist circumference and fasting plasma glucose, especially when administered for longer than 12 weeks, according to the results of a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (9 articles, 12 arms, 595 participants). Rahmani 2020
In an 8-week, randomized, double-dummy, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=50), an intranasal formula containing oil macerates of Viola odorata, Crocus sativus (saffron), and Lactuca sativa significantly relieved insomnia severity and imporved sleep quality in chronic insomnia patients. Taherzadeh 2020
A meta-analysis of 4 randomized controlled trials found saffron (Crocus sativus) improved cognitive function in subjects with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment, with the effect not differing significantly from conventional medicine. Clinical trials with larger samples are warranted. Ayati 2020
A meta-analysis of 12 trials concluded that saffron is equivalent to antidepressants in combatting mild to moderate depression, and is more efficient for the purpose than placebo, with no differences in the incidence of adverse events across all treatments. Dai 2020
A meta-analysis of 12 studies found saffron (Crocus sativus) to be more efficacious than placebo and as effective as synthetic antidepressants in treatment of mild to moderate depression, with a significant difference in incidence of adverse effects between saffron and placebo or antidepressants. Dai 2020
A systematic review of 14 randomized controlled trials observed a favorable effect of saffron (Crocus sativus) on fasting blood glucose in subjects with metabolic syndrome or diabetes mellitus. Many of the studies in the reviewed literature were considered of poor quality Giannoulaki 2020
A meta-analysis of 21 randomized controlled trials found saffron (Crocus sativus) supplementation to significantly decrease Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventory and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores but not Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Rating Scale scores or C-reactive protein levels. Ghaderi 2020
In a randomized controlled trial (N=63), saffron extract (14 mg twice daily for 4 weeks) improved sleep quality scores and insomnia in healthy adults aged 18-70 with self-reported poor sleep. Saffron intake was well tolerated with no reported adverse effects Lopresti 2020
Administration of a saffron pill for 12 months significantly decreased serum levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, while increasing those of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1(TIMP-1), in multiple sclerosis patients compared to placebo. Ghasemi Sakha 2020
In a 4-month trail with patients with osteoarthritis (N=40), crocin (Krocina™) from saffron decreased serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and increased the percentage of regulatory T cells, while reducing T helper (Th) 17 cells. Poursamimi 2020
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 8 human studies found saffron to be "well comparable" to fluoxetine and placebo in the treatment of depression. Khaksarian 2019
In a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (n=120), oral administration for 12 weeks of a chamomile, fennel, and saffron formula significantly dose-dependently improved physical, psychological, and urogenital symptoms in perimenopausal women. Mahdavian 2019
In a double-blind randomized clinical trial (n=64), saffron (15 mg/day for 3 months) did not improve inflammation markers, homocysteine levels, or antioxidant status in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Shahbazian 2019
In a 3-month, double-blind, randomized trial (n=64), Crocus sativus hydroalcoholic extract (15 mg/day) was shown to significantly decrease fasting plasma glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), total and LDL-cholesterol, and LDL/HDL ratio in type 2 diabetic patients. Moravej Aleali 2019
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=31), oral administration of saffron (20 mg for 6 months) was shown to have no detrimental effects on electroretinographic responses of the central retina and visual acuity in patients with Stargardt macular dystrophy. Piccardi 2019
In a 12-week, randomized, controlled trial (n=80), saffron tablets (100 mg/day) was shown to significantly decrease waist circumference and serum malondialdehyde, but not fasting blood glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin, in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Ebrahimi 2019
In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial (n=75), saffron (15 mg/day) significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin in overweight/obese individuals with prediabetes; however, no beneficial effect was observed on lipid profile and anthropometric parameters. Karimi-Nazari 2019
In a 6-week, double-blind, randomized, intervention study (n=50), saffron (Crocus sativus) (60 mg/day) was shown to decrease symptoms of depression in older patients with major depressive disorder with effects equivalent to sertraline (100 mg/day). Ahmadpanah 2019
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (6 studies) found significant reductions in serum levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides and an increase in the levels of HDL-cholesterol but no effect on fasting blood glucose or LDL-cholesterol following supplementation with saffron. Asbaghi 2019
In a randomized, double-blind clinical trial (n=57), treatment with crocin for 11 weeks exhibited significant efficacy in the severity of symptoms in patients with burning mouth syndrome with concurrent anxiety and/or depression. Pakfetrat 2019
Results of a meta-analysis of 5 human trials (n=173) showed a statistically significant positive effect of saffron (Crocus sativus) on sexual dysfunction and its subscale in men and women. Ranjbar 2019
In an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=160) with persistent depression adults taking a pharmaceutical antidepressant, saffron extract (affron®, 14 mg b.i.d.) decreased depressive symptoms by 41% as measured by the clinician-rated MADRS but not the self-report MADRS-S. Lopresti 2019
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial (n=73), saffron capsules (15-30 mg twice daily for 12 weeks) significantly reduced depressive symptoms in overweight women with mild-to-moderate depression; no significant effect of saffron on food craving was observed. Akhondzadeh 2019
In a 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (n=80), saffron supplementation significantly reduced systolic blood pressure in patients with type 2 diabetes; however, it did not considerably improve diastolic blood pressure, nephropathy indices, and liver functions. Ebrahimi 2019
A meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials found significant reductions in plasma cholesterol and triglycerides levels and increased high-density lipoprotein levels following administration of saffron; no significant effect on weight and low-density liporotein was found. Rahmani 2019
Saffron aqueous extract (200?mg/day, in capsule) was shown to significantly reduce stroke severity, as assessed during the first 4 days and at the end of the 3-month follow-up period, in a randomized clinical trial in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Asadollahi 2019
This review summarizes the key published findings of clinical trials that investigated the effects of saffron (Crocus sativus) or its constituents on ocular diseases, as well as provides an overview of the proposed underlying mechanisms mediating these effects. Heitmar 2019
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 randomized controlled trials showed a large positive effect of saffron compared to placebo for depressive symptoms (including as an adjunct to antidepressants) and anxiety symptoms. Publication bias was noted. Marx 2019
In a randomized controlled trial (n=84), administration of crocin (30 mg/kg) for 8 weeks decreased serum levels of oxidized LDL-cholesterol and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and modified several gene markers in patients with coronary artery disease. Abedimanesh 2019
In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (n=80), saffron was shown to decrease symptoms frequency and asthma severity, improve lipid profile, and reduce eosinophil and basophil concentration in patients with mild and moderate allergic asthma. Zilaee 2019
Saffron (20-30 mg/d, in capsules, for 6 weeks) was equally effective with methylphenidate for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children, in a randomized double-blind study. Baziar 2019
In a triple-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (n=80), saffron (100 mg/d for 8 weeks) decreased anti-heat shock protein 70 (HSP-70) antibodies and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), as well as improved spirometry measures, in individuals with mild and moderate allergic asthma. Hosseini 2018
A meta-analysis of ten clinical trials (n=622) showed significant effects of saffron on diastolic blood pressure, body weight, waist circumstance, and fasting plasma glucose levels; significant changes in lipid profile, fasting insulin, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index were not seen. Pourmasoumi 2018
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial (n=100), supplementation with saffron (20 mg/day) for 3 months modestly improved visual function in adults with mild/moderate age-related macular degeneration, including those using other supplements. Broadhead 2018
In a randomized double-blind trial (n=60), a combination of sedge, saffron, and astragalus honey was shown to improve cognitive test and depression scores in geriatric patients with major neurocognitive disorder. Akouchekian 2018
A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials concluded that saffron is significantly more effective than placebo and non-inferior to tested antidepressant drugs in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. Tóth 2018
In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group trial, saffron (15-30 mg/day) was shown to be as effective as duloxetine (30 mg) in ameliorating the symptoms of fibromyalgia as measured by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and Brief Pain Inventory. Shakiba 2018
A meta-analysis of English and Persian literature showed generally positive effects of saffron (Crocus sativus) on erectile dysfunction in men; however, results regarding semen parameters were contradictory. Maleki-Saghooni 2018
A meta-analysis of 7 randomized controlled trials using saffron for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults found saffron resulted in more improvement in depressive symptoms compared to placebo and was as effective as synthetic antidepressants. Yang 2018
In an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with diabetic patients with mild-to-moderate Comorbid Depression-Anxiety (n=54), saffron (30 mg/day) significantly relieved sleep disturbances, anxiety, and mild-to-moderate comorbid depression with anxiety, but not depression alone. Milajerdi 2018
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials with herbal dietary supplements for the treatment of erectile dysfunction found mixed results reported for three studies (n=397) with saffron monopreparations. Borrelli 2018
Administration for 15 days of an herbal formula including saffron reduced the incidence of hyperhidrosis and serum liver enzyme levels (by ~50-80%), normalized appetite, and ameliorated neurological symptoms in an open, single-armed, prospective trial with 32 patients during alcohol withdrawal. Mansoor 2018
Administration of crocin (5 mg or 15 mg/day) for 3 months to 60 patients (101 eyes) was shown to dose-dependently improve measures of diabetic maculopathy and to decrease HbA1c in a double-blind, placebo controlled, phase II, randomized human trial. Sepahi 2018
In a semi-experimental randomized study with pre-test, post-test, and placebo-controlled groups (n=57), administration of saffron (30 ml/day) for 8 weeks was shown to significantly reduc edepression among recovered consumers of methamphetamine living with HIV/AIDS. Jalali 2018
A Crocus sativus hydroalcoholic extract administered for 8 weeks to subjects with type 2 diabetes was shown to decrease serum fasting blood sugar levels compared to placebo; other metabolic parameters such as serum lipids, blood pressure, and hemoglobin were not significantly changed. Milajerdi 2018
In an 8-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a Crocus sativus extract (affron®, 14 mg b.i.d) was shown to reduce scores of internalising symptoms, separation anxiety, social phobia, and depression in 12 to 16-year-olds with mild-to-moderate anxiety or depressive symptoms. Lopresti 2018
A review of randomized controlled trials of single-herb treatments for anxiety and depression in cancer patients concluded that saffron was one of the most studied herbs (≥6 trials) and produced benefits comparable to standard anxiolytics and antidepressants. Yeung 2018
In a 4-week, randomized, double-blind trial with 40 subjects (20-55 years old) with severe depression, co-administration of saffron (30 mg/day) and fluoxetine (20 mg/day) decreased homocysteine levels but did not significantly affect Beck questionnaire values compared to fluoxetine and placebo. Jelodar 2018
Saffron (Crocus sativus; 15 mg twice per day, for 6 weeks) was found to be safe and effective in improving hot flashes and depressive symptoms in post-menopausal healthy women, compared with placebo. Kashani 2018
In a 6-week, randomized, double-blind trial with 48 subjects with metabolic syndrome, crocin (100 mg/day) decreased blood lipid levels compared to baseline but not compared to placebo, with no significant changes in laboratory values, blood pressure, and anthropometric measures. Kermani 2017
An aqueous extract of saffron (30 mg) decreased body mass index, waist circumference, and fat mass more than crocin (30 mg), while both decreased appetite and mean energy intake, in subjects with coronary artery disease in an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Abedimanesh 2017
In an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, crocin (30 mg/day) did not significantly affect cholesterol, low- or high-density lipoprotein, triglyceride, or fasting blood glucose levels in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Javandoost 2017
Administration of saffron capsules in addition to methadone syrup alleviated withdrawal symptoms, compared to methadone alone, in a 2-month, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 44 subjects undergoing maintenance treatment for opioid addiction. Nemat Shahi 2017
A combination of Crocus sativus, Bacopa monnieri, L-theanine, copper, folate, and B-group and D vitamins, administered for 2 months, improved Mini-Mental State Examination and Perceived Stress Questionnaire scores in elderly subjects, compared to placebo. Cicero 2017
No effects on cognition, anxiety, or depression were observed in subjects undergoing coronary bypass surgery receiving saffron (C. sativus; 15 mg/twice daily, in capsules), for 12 weeks, compared to placebo. Moazen-Zadeh 2017
Saffron (Crocus sativus stigma; 15 mg/Bid) decreased depression scores in mothers suffering from mild-to-moderate postpartum depression, with 96% achieving remission, compared to 43% in the placebo group. Tabeshpour 2017
Crocin (30 mg in two 15-mg tablets, for 8 weeks) reduced symptoms of depression in subjects with metabolic syndrome, compared to baseline and placebo. Jam 2017
Saffron (30 mg/day, in two doses, for 10 weeks) was found to be as effective as fluvoxamine (100 mg/day) in patients with mild to moderate obsessive-compulsive disorder. Esalatmanesh 2017
A standardised extract from Crocus sativus stigmas (affron®; 28 mg/day for 4 weeks) decreased negative mood and symptoms related to stress and anxiety in subjects with self-reported low mood, not diagnosed with depression. Kell 2017
Administration of saffron (Crocus sativus; 100 mg/day, for 12 weeks) decreased levels of total and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar and hsCRP, while increasing those of VEGF and HDL-cholesterol, in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Kermani 2017
A combination of Tribulus terrestris (40 mg), Zingiber officinale (12.27 mg), Cinnamomum zeylanicum (11 mg), and a Crocus sativus extract (3 mg), administered twice a day for 4 weeks, reduced menopausal symptoms in women aged 50-60 years, compared to placebo. Taavoni 2017
Crocin supplementation anti-heat-shock protein 27 antibody titers by 13% (compared to a 22% increase in the placebo group) in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Nosrati 2017
Clinical studies of drugs for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma is reviewed, including one study with saffron. Vicente 2017
A combination of saffron (15mg b.i.d.) and a curcumin extract (250mg b.i.d.), administered for 12 weeks, was found effective for the treatment of major depression, with greater efficacy in people with atypical depression (response rates, 65% versus 35%, respectively). Lopresti 2017
Saffron (C. sativus; 30 mg/day for 6 weeks) improved anxiety and depression scores in individuals with major depressive disorder accompanied by anxious distress (total n=66); the efficacy and safety were not significantly different, compared to citalopram (40mg/day). Ghajar 2017
Saffron (15 mg capsule twice a day for 6 weeks) was found to be safe and nearly as effective as fluoxetine (20 mg) in the treatment of postpartum depression, with 13 (40.60%) patients in the saffron group achieving complete response, compared with 16 (50%) in the fluoxetine group. Kashani 2017
IDIProst® Gold (a formulation containing Serenoa repens, Crocus sativus, and Pinus massoniana extracts; once daily, for three months) improved sexual function, urinary symptoms, and quality of life in patients with concomitant lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction. Quarto 2017
Oral saffron (30 mg/d for 3-6 months, compared to placebo) induced improvements in the retinal function, as shown by optical coherence tomography and electroretinography, in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Lashay 2016
Saffron (three 250-mg pills in 24 hours) increased cervical readiness and reduced the incidence of cesarean section and meconium staining in the fetus (0 and 1, respectively, as compared to 3 and 4 in the placebo group) in women in the term stage of pregnancy (total n=50). Sadi 2016
One-month use of a toothpaste containing aqueous extract of saffron stigma decreased gingival and bleeding of probing indices in patients with marginal generalized plaque-induced gingivitis, compared to the placebo. Forouzanfar 2016
Toothpaste containing aqueous extract of saffron stigma reduced gingival index and bleeding of probing index in patients with generalized marginal gingivitis, compared to placebo, after one-month use. Forouzanfar 2016
In a small, one-year, single-blind, randomized trial, saffron (Crocus sativus) improved Mini-Mental State Examination scores, MRI, electroencephalogram, and ERP, in 17 patients with mild cognitive impairment, compared to placebo. Tsolaki 2016
Saffron (C. sativus stigma; 50-mg capsule, twice daily, for 12 weeks) significantly affected anxiety and depression scores, compared to placebo, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Mazidi 2016
Dried saffron (C. sativus stigma; 300 mg/day for 10 days) increased the isometric (by 10.1%), isotonic force (by 6.1%), and augmented visual and audio reaction times as well as muscle blood perfusion, in healthy male university students. Meamarbashi 2016
Saffron intake (1g with three glasses of black tea, for 8 weeks) reduced serum levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), compared with the tea control, but did not affect blood pressure or anthropomorphic parameters, in type 2 diabetic patients. Azimi 2016
Combined treatment with fluoxetine and saffron did not produce better antidepressant effects, nor affected the lipid profile, compared with fluoxetine+placebo, in a small, randomized, placebo-controlled study in patients with major depression. Sahraian 2016
Human clinical evidence of the efficacy and safety of saffron (Crocus savitus) supplementation in a variety of diseases is reviewed. Broadhead 2016
One-week treatment with Sailuotong, a combination of Panax ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, and Crocus sativus, induced small improvements in working memory and neuropsychological performance (auditory tests), in healthy adults, in a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Steiner 2016
In a small (total n=13), randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study, partial or complete response to oral saffron (50 mg, twice daily, during chemotherapy) was seen in cancer patients with liver metastases, whereas no response was observed in the placebo group. Hosseini 2015
A saffron supplement (100 mg/kg, for 12 weeks) reduced serum prooxidant-antioxidant balance, compared with placebo, in a randomized study on metabolic syndrome patients. Kermani 2015
No serious side effects were noted after short-term oral administration of an aqueous extract of saffron (Crocus sativus stigma, 15 mg twice daily) or crocin (15 mg twice daily) to patients with schizophrenia undergoing normal treatment. Mousavi 2015
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials confirmed reported efficacy of saffron in improving depressive symptoms (compared to anti-depressants and placebo), premenstrual symptoms, sexual dysfunction, as well as excessive snacking behavior. Hausenblas 2015
Topical application of a saffron (Crocus sativus) gel improved erectile dysfunction in diabetic men. Mohammadzadeh-Moghadam 2015
Crocin, a major constituent of saffron, at 30mg/day (15mg BID) for 4 weeks as an adjunct to fluoxetine (20mg/day), sertraline (50mg/day), or citalopram (20mg/day), improved depression scores in patients with major depressive disorder, compared to the active placebo drugs only. Talaei 2015
Dried saffron powder (300 mg/d, in 1 capsule, administered 1 week prior to and 3 days after the exercise program) prevented pain due to delayed-onset muscle soreness following eccentric exercise in nonactive male university students. Meamarbashi 2015
Clinical trials on the pharmacological effects of saffron (Crocus sativus) were discussed, including eight trials on the antidepressant effects of saffron extract, and one trial on its anti-Alzheimer's effect, among others. Moshiri 2015
Saffron (1 g with 3 glasses of black tea, for 8 weeks) significantly affected total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels, but not measures of glycemic control, anthropometry, inflammation, and oxidative stress, in type 2 diabetes patients. Azimi 2014
A systematic review, detailing dosages, extract sources, standardizations, etc., found large treatment effects of saffron, and similar efficacy with antidepressant medications, based on 6 high-quality, randomized, double-blind studies of saffron for depression. Lopresti 2014
Stable cream (water-in-oil emulsion) with 3% Crocus sativus extract showed absolute physical stability at different storage conditions (8-40°C with 75% relative humidity, for 4 weeks) and, applied for 8 weeks, increased skin moisture content, compared to base, in human volunteers. Akhtar 2014
An aqueous saffron extract (30 mg/day, orally, as an adjunct to timolol and dorzolamide) decreased intraocular pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, after three weeks of administration (10.9 ± 3.0 vs. 13.5 ± 2.2 mmHg in the placebo group), in a randomized pilot study. Jabbarpoor Bonyadi 2014
Saffron extract (30 mg/day, in capsules, for 12 months) was found not to differ from memantine (20 mg/day, for 12 months) in its effect on the cognitive function in patienths with Alzheimer's disease. Farokhnia 2014
An aqueous extract of saffron (30 mg daily) prevented the development of metabolic syndrome, induced by olanzapine in patients with schizophrenia, in a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study. Fadai 2014
Consumption of saffron (100 mg/day, in a capsule, for 12 weeks) decreased the levels of antibodies against heat shock proteins (Hsp) 27 and 70, markers of autoimmunity and cardiovascular disease risk, in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Shemshian 2014
No significant differences were observed between saffron (30mg/day) and fluoxetine (40mg/day), administered for 6 weeks, in patients with mild to moderate depression after post percutaneous coronary intervention, using a randomized double-blind study design. Shahmansouri 2014
Crocus sativus (saffron) (200-400 mg tablets, 1/day for 7 days) was not found to affect coagulation and anticoagulation systems in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers (20-50 yo; total n=60, 20 persons per group). Ayatollahi 2014
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found a large effect of saffron vs. placebo, with no difference between saffron and antidepressant groups, on depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder. Hausenblas 2013
Supplementation with saffron (20 mg/day for 3 months) improved retinal function, as assessed by focal electroretinogram, in patients with early age-relaged macular degeneration. The changes remained stable during the follow-up period. Marangoni 2013
No significant anti-obesity effects of Crocus sativus were found in the systematic review of human studies on the use of herbal medicines for obesity management. Hasani-Ranjbar 2013
Cinically relevant scientific data on the effects of saffron, passionflower, valerian, and sage relevant to mental health are reviewed. Modabbernia 2013
Clinical evidence of the potential benefits of compounds from Crocus sativus for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's disease is summarized in this review. Russo 2013
Saffron (30 mg/day for 4 weeks; vs. placebo) improved multiple measures of fluoxetine-induced sexual dysfunction in women. Kashani 2013
Sustained benefits for visual acuity following oral supplementation with saffron (20 mg/day) in patients with early age-related macular degeneration were confirmed in the follow-up study over a period of 14 (±2) months. Piccardi 2012
Saffron (Crocus sativus; 15 mg twice per day for 4 weeks) improved certain measures of sexual function, as compared with placebo, in males with major depressive disorder receiving fluoxetine. The final depressive symptom scores were similar between the groups. Modabbernia 2012
Saffron (Crocus sativus; one 100-mg tablet daily for 3 weeks) increased IgG and decreased IgM levels, compared with baseline and placebo; and increased the percentage of monocytes, compared with placebo. After 6 weeks, the levels returned to baseline. Kianbakht 2011
Six studies using saffron for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression were systematically reviewed. Both saffron stigma and petal were found to be equally effective to each other as well to fluoxetine and imipramine. Dwyer 2011
Exposure to the scent of saffron (Crocus sativus) for 20 min decreased cortisol levels, increased those of estradiol, and increased State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores, in women during follicular and luteal phases. Fukui 2011
A single trial supports the use of Crocus sativus for amelioration of premenstrual symptoms, according to the systematic review. Dante 2011
Saffron (Crocus sativus) administration (60 mg/day for 26 weeks) did not affect semen parameters in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia, as compared with placebo. Safarinejad 2011
Saffron (Crocus sativus; 15 mg twice per day, for 16 weeks) improved parameters of cognitive function, in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial on subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (n=46). Akhondzadeh 2010
Supplementation with saffron (20 mg/d, orally, for 3 months), compared to baseline and placebo, improved retinal flicker sensitivity as measured by focal electroretinograms, in subjects with age-related macular degeneration. Falsini 2010
Results of a clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of saffron administration on erectile function in men with ED do not support a beneficial effect of saffron administration in men with ED. Safarinejad 2010
Phase II study provides preliminary evidence of a possible therapeutic effect of saffron extract in the treatment of fifty-four Persian-speaking adults 55 years of age or older patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. Akhondzadeh 2010
Saffron showed a positive effect on sexual function with increased number and duration of erectile events seen in twenty male patients with erectile dysfunction even after only ten days of treatment. Shamsa 2009
Saffron, as an antioxidant, was found to be positively effective on sperm morphology and motility in 52 nonsmoker infertile men, while it does not increase sperm count. Heidary 2008
Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in women aged 20-45 years with regular menstrual cycles and experience of PMS symptoms for at least 6 months indicate the efficacy of C. sativus in the treatment of PMS with a tolerable adverse events profile. Agha-Hosseini 2008
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was carried out with saffron stigma tablets to evaluate the short-term safety and tolerability in healthy adult volunteers which showed that there may be some changes in hematological & biochemical parameters which are not important clinically. Modaghegh 2008
The efficacy of petal of Crocus sativus with fluoxetine was compared in the treatment of forty adult depressed outpatients in an 8-week pilot double-blind randomized trial and this trial confirmed the antidepressant effect of C. sativus. Akhondzadeh Basti 2007
The efficacy of petal of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression was assessed in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized trial with forty adult outpatients and the efficacy of petal of C. sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression was confirmed. Moshiri 2006
The efficacy of the stigmas of Crocus sativus (saffron) in the treatment of mild to moderate depression was assessed in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized trial with 40 adult patients which revealed the efficacy of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Akhondzadeh 2005
The efficacy of hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus (stigma) was compared with fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in a 6-week double-blind, randomized trial with 40 adult patients which revealed the efficacy of Crocus sativus in treatment of mild to moderate depression. Noorbala 2005
The efficacy of hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus (stigma) was compared with fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in a 6-week double-blind, randomized trial with 40 adult patients which revealed that saffron may have therapeutic benefit in mild to moderate depression. Akhondzadeh 2004
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Rasheed Rabata
April 2019
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
November 2021