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Scientific Name:
Crocus sativus
Family Name:
Iridaceae
Common Name:
saffron
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Traditional and Folk Use
The Unani system of medicine includes etiological factors associated with epidemics with similarities to Covid-19, including a change in air quality, water, earth, and "celestial bodies," as well as preventive measures, including restricted movement, isolation, and fumigation with boatnicals such as Crocus sativus (saffron). Alam 2021
An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal tea plant species conducted in Southern Xinjiang, China identified Crocus sativus among the plant species that may have negative implications when used in high doses. Abdusalam 2020
Traditional approaches to the management of epidemics based on Unani medicine include fumigation with Zafran (Crocus sativus). Alam 2020
A review of herbal drugs that may be suitable for the treatment of COVID-19 based on the traditional Unani medicine lists Crocus sativus among other treatments with claimed anti-viral, anti-pyretic, blood purifier, cardioprotective and expectorant activities. Fatima 2020
In an ethnopharmacological study conducted in Palestinian West Bank, pregnant women reportedly avoided using saffron (Crocus sativus) for medicinal purposes. Eid 2020
A review of literary sources of traditional Persian medicine identified Crocus sativus among the remedies recommended for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Parvizi 2020
A study reports on a traditional Malaysian practice of eating saffron to produce fairer skinned babies, at quantities that may promote miscarriage. Ahmad 2019
A review of the Persian books of Canon and the Makhzan Al-Aladvia found that saffron has been introduced in both modern medicine and in traditional Iranian medicine to reduce appetite. Parsa 2018
Saffron (C. sativus) was among the herbs with the highest consumption rates among the study respondents in Rasht City, Iran. Jokar 2017
Ethnopharmacological use of Crocus sativus and Curcuma longa for enuresis in the West Bank/Palestine is reported. Jaradat 2017
In the study of historical Chinese textile dyes, esterification and isomerisation of saffron compounds was observed for the first time. Han 2017
The use of Crocus sativus is traced from Renaissance pharmacopoeias through the 16th century in Albacete, Spain, and to the modern time ethnobotanical and popular references, in a survey of various sources from Spain and Italy. Rivera 2017
Crocus sativus was considered in traditional Persian medicine among the most efficacious medicinal plants for the treatment of asthma, according to the review of traditional and scientific data. Javadi 2017
Crocus sativus, Nigella sativa, and Melissa officinalis were highlighted as traditional Iranian medicinal plants with clinically demonstrated effects on memory and Alzheimer's disease. Shojaii 2016
Saffron (C. sativus) was among the herbal remedies commonly used by cancer patients attending specialty care facilities in Trinidad. Clement 2016
Saffron is claimed to be one of the 7 original constituents of "Swedish Bitters," a medical preparation used widely in Europe since 1730s and recreated in the authors' laboratory to study it using modern pharmaceutical methods. Ahnfelt 2016
Among plants used in Iranian traditional medicine for central nervous system related problems, clinical benefits have been demonstrated for Crocus sativus, Nigella sativa, and Melissa officinalis in improvement of memory and/or treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Shojaii 2016
Laūq, a sustained release dosage form, utilized in traditional Persian medicine for the delivery of botanicals, including saffron (Crocus sativus), among others, as a treatment of respiratory diseases, is characterized. Karegar-Borzi 2016
Traditional data on medicinal properties of saffron (C. sativus) from Kitab Al-Hawi by Razi, including diuretic, analgesic, appetite suppressant, hypnotic, and antidepressant effects, is reported largely confirmed by modern scientific studies. Mollazadeh 2015
Crocus sativus was identified as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal plants in "About the Antidotes", a chapter from a Greek manuscript dating back to 1339 CE, containing the largest number of plant recipes for the Byzantine period. Valiakos 2015
Persian traditional medicine recommendations for eye health include saffron on the list of beneficial foods. Namdar 2015
Saffron is included in the list of foods prescribed in the context of Iranian traditional medicine for the treatment of depression, according to the review. Tavakkoli-Kakhki 2014
Crocus sativus was found to figure prominently as part of hepatoprotective formulae and prescriptions for liver diseases in the Canon of Medicine by Avicenna. Shamsi-Baghbanan 2014
Medicinal uses of saffron (Crocus sativus) advocated in Islamic traditional medicine, according to a bibliographical survey of its literature, are reviewed. Javadi 2013
Various uses of saffron (Crocus sativus) described by Avicenna (which include antidepressant, hypnotic, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, labor-inducing, and other activities) as well as modern pharmacological data are reviewed. Hosseinzadeh 2013
Some ethnobotanical aspects of Birjand Flora (Iran). Mood 2008
The use of 68 medicinal plants of clod desert was documented for treatment of kidney and urinary disorders in the tribal communities of Ladakh region in India. These species were used in combination of some exotic species such as Bergenia ligulata, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, and Crocus sativus. Ballabh 2008
Crocus (Crocus sativus L.) is a crop species cultivated for its flowers and, particularly, for its red stigmas. The dry form of the stigmas constitutes the commercial saffron used as a food additive, in the coloring industry, and in medicine. Tsaftaris 2007
Phytotherapies which potentially have significant use in psychiatry, and urgently require more research are Rhodiola rosea (roseroot) and Crocus sativus (saffron) for depression; Passiflora incarnata (passionflower), Scutellaria lateriflora (scullcap) and Zizyphus jujuba for anxiety disorders. Sarris 2007
The aroma of saffron has received much attention from scientists in recent years, not only for the compounds that make it up, but also for its glycosidic precursors. Only the generation of safranal, the major compound, from picrocrocin has been established. Carmona 2007
An ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal herbs in Jordan revealed that use of moderately unsafe plants includes Ecballium elaterium, Euphorbia hierosolymitana, Mandragora autumnalis & Citrullus colocynthis. Kidney problems scored highest while Crocus hyemalis was the plant of highest use value. Aburjai 2007
A study on herbal drugs sold in the markets in Mersin and Adana between 2002–2005 - 107 species belonging to 56 families, including Crocus sativus - were investigated as herbal cures and their recommended use stated by the local herbalists, by the parts used, and by the preparations. Everest 2005
[Saffron for the mood] [Article in German] [No authors listed] 2005
[Crocus sativus against cancer.] Abdullaev 2003
The combination of natural and synthetic agents--a new pharmacological approach in cancer chemoprevention. Riverón-Negrete 2002
Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used for the treatment of diabetes, cardiac and renal diseases in the North central region of Morocco (Fez–Boulemane). Jouad 2001
[Notes on the saffron plant (Crocus sativus,L.).] Robinson 1995
See entry on remedy for jaundice in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on boiling garlic and saffron blows as a cold remedy in the UCLA Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on belief that drinking an extract of walnut leaves and saffron during menstruation prevents conception after menstruation in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on the practice of women of some Moravian regions who cook saffron with rosemary in milk for causing abortions in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on using saffron tea to bring measles rash to the surface in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on belief of Pennsylvania Germans that stigmata of saffron (Crocus sativus) have medicinal properties in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
See entry on croup remedy in UCLA's Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
Monograph on Henriette's Herbal website Sayre 1917
See entry on ingesting columbine seeds and saffron as a liver remedy in the UCLA Online Archive of American Folk Medicine
Monograph in chapter on "Special Remedies for the Non-Surgical Diseases of Women" on Henriette's Herbal website. Jones 1911
Ingredient in Tinctura Cinchonae Composita (U. S. P.) - Compound Tincture of Cinchona on Henriette's Herbal website Kings American Dispensatory 1898
Ingredient in Tinctura Serpentariae Composita (Compound Tincture of Serpentaria) on Henriette's Herbal website Kings American Dispensatory 1898
Monograph on Henriette's Herbal website King's American Dispensatory 1898
Monograph in a classic herbal text on Henriette's Herbal website. Pereira 1853
Scroll down index of herbs to find Stigma Croci within the pdf file in WHO monograph
Monograph in "A Modern Herbal" by Mrs. M. Grieve at botanical.com
Search for ethnobotanical uses of Crocus sativus in Dr. Duke's Phytochem and Ethnobot DB
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Rasheed Rabata
April 2019
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
November 2021