One of the costliest spices in the world, saffron (Crocus sativus) is derived from the flowers of C. sativa, which are light purple in color and have a thread-like reddish-colored stigma. It is this stigma of the flower that is dried to make saffron. Did you know that one pound (or 450g) of saffron strands are made from 75,ooo flowers and the process takes around 20 hours to complete?

Saffron has been used in folk medicine and Ayurveda due to its expectorant, anti-asthmatic, sedative, emmenagogue (inducing menstruation), and adaptogenic (stress-busting) properties. It has also been used in various opioid preparations for pain relief.[1]

Saffron is packed with anti-nociceptive (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties.[2] Animal studies suggest that crocetin, an active compound in saffron, causes a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels.[3] It has an antioxidant effect and stops lipid peroxidation—the process by which free radicals remove electrons from lipids (fats) in cells and damage them.[4]

Saffron For Depression
A meta-analysis that examined years of saffron research found that saffron could improve symptoms of depression such as excessive snacking, weight changes, premenstrual syndrome, sexual dysfunction and infertility.[5] The antioxidants present in saffron are responsible for the neurobehavioral and neurochemical changes that alleviate depression.[6]

How To Take It
Just 30mg of saffron every day is enough to control symptoms of depression.

  • Add 10-13 (about 30mg) strands of saffron to a glass of warm milk and have it once every day to reduce depression.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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1. Schmidt M, Betti G, Hensel A. Saffron in phytotherapy: pharmacology and clinical uses. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2007;157(13-14):315-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 17704979.

2. Hosseinzadeh H, Younesi HM. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Crocus sativus L. stigma and petal extracts in mice. BMC Pharmacol. 2002 Mar 15;2:7. PubMed PMID: 11914135; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC101384.

3. Gainer JL, Jones JR. The use of crocetin in experimental atherosclerosis. Experientia. 1975 May 15;31(5):548-9. PubMed PMID: 1140250.
4. Chatterjee S, Poduval TB, Tilak JC, Devasagayam TP. A modified, economic, sensitive method for measuring total antioxidant capacities of human plasma and natural compounds using Indian saffron (Crocus sativus). Clin Chim Acta. 2005 Feb;352(1-2):155-63. PubMed PMID: 15653110.

5. Hausenblas HA, Heekin K, Mutchie HL, Anton S. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials examining the effectiveness of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on psychological and behavioral outcomes. J Integr Med. 2015 Jul;13(4):231-40. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(15)60176-5. PubMed PMID: 26165367.

6. Saleem S, Ahmad M, Ahmad AS, Yousuf S, Ansari MA, Khan MB, Ishrat T, Islam F. Effect of Saffron (Crocus sativus) on neurobehavioral and neurochemical changes in cerebral ischemia in rats. J Med Food. 2006 Summer;9(2):246-53. PubMed PMID:16822211.