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Saffron crocus

Plant for mild depression

Crocus sativus L.

Part used : stigmas

Traditional use

Also known as medicinal saffron1, saffron has been used for thousands of years as a seasoning, perfume, dye and medication. The plant was first named in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical texts dating from 1550 BCE. It was also mentioned by Homer as a remedy and perfume in the Iliad and used to treat mild depression in traditional Persian medicine.

Botany

The saffron crocus is a small perennial bulbous plant with long, thin leaves and cup-shaped mauve-coloured flowers. Each flower contains three yellow pistils with three reddish-orange stigmas 2.5 to 3.5 cm in length. The stigmas give off a strong, aromatic fragrance and yield the world’s most expensive spice, saffron, named after the plant from which it is derived1.

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Properties

Saffron is traditionally used to treat mild to moderate depression2. In addition to its antidepressant effect, the plant is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have demonstrated the effect of saffron on cognitive decline, particularly in persons at risk of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) and in age-related vision disorders. Saffron is also believed to have a cardioprotective effect and to improve male sexual dysfunction.

Indications

  • Mild to moderate depression
  • Cognitive disorders in the elderly
  • Prevention and stabilisation of early cataract and ARMD
  • Erectile dysfunction

Possible combinations

Saffron + Rhodiola :

mild to moderate depression

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Precautions for use

Use is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women in the absence of sufficient data. The combination of a high dose of saffron (more than 100 mg of extract/day) with an antihypertensive is not recommended because of a risk of low blood pressure3. Contraindicated in persons allergic to saffron and its components4.

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