Effects of Saffron on the Nervous System
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus Sativus and commonly known as the Saffron Crocus.
Saffron is mostly used to garnish food and beverages or to give an exquisite aroma to it. Something that most people might not know about Saffron is that it is used for medical uses as well. It has been used in traditional medicine for ages.
In this article, we will talk about Saffron and its medical uses all around the world.
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Medical Uses of Saffron
Saffron has always been used as a medicinal plant to boost human health, especially in the Middle East. The main components of Saffron are Crocin, Picrocrocin, and Safranal. It has been said that Saffron is effective in the treatment of a broad range of disorders. Different studies have indicated that Saffron has Anticarcinogenic, Antispasmodic, and Anti-Inflammatory effects. C. Sativus has also been effective to treat depression and it’s been reported in clinical trials.
But does Saffron have side effects?
Some possible side effects include dry mouth, anxiety, agitation, drowsiness, low mood, sweating, nausea or vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, change in appetite, flushing, and headache. Allergic reactions can occur in some people. Taking large amounts of saffron by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE.
Read more about the benefits of saffron
In traditional medicine, C. sativus has been frequently used as an herbal sedative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, anticatarrhal, eupeptic, gingival sedative, and emmenagogue. C. sativus was experimentally shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Following administration of Saffron, a signiﬁcant effect was observed in cycles 3 and 4 in the Total Premenstrual Daily Symptoms and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale which indicates the efﬁcacy of C. sativus in the treatment of PMS.
In traditional medicine, saffron stigma is used for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Five randomized clinical trials (RCT) reported that stigma and hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus can significantly attenuate symptoms of depression in patients with major depressive disorders. In 3 of the mentioned clinical trials, short-term administration of hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus Sativus appeared to be as efficient as fluoxetine and imipramine.
Saffron and its components have been used in animal models with neurodegenerative diseases. Crocin and Safranal have inhibitory effects on ﬁbrillation of apo alpha-lactalbumin, under amyloidogenic conditions in which Crocin was found to be more effective than Safranal. The formation of toxic amyloid structures is related to various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Effects of Saffron on Neuronal Injury and Apoptosis
Crocin showed a protective effect against ischemia/reperfusion injury. Administration of crocin, one hour before, or one hour after the induction of ischemia, reduced brain edema. The neuroprotective effects of Crocetin in the brain injury in animal studies have been suggested to be related to its ability to inhibit apoptosis at the early stages of the injury and its ability to promote angiogenesis at the subacute stage as directed by higher expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and serum response factor (SRF).
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