Saffron As a Treatment For Depression?

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The world’s most expensive spice may also be an alternative treatment for mild-to-moderate depression, according to a new study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology.

Saffron, the spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, has been found to have had anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiplatelet effects in previous research and recent clinical trials have suggested that it could also be used for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new review analyzed six clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of saffron in the treatment of major depressive disorder in 230 adult outpatients aged between 18 and 55. In two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, 30mg/day of C. sativus was found to be effective for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression; 30mg/day of extract of saffron stigma was also found to be as effective as fluoxetine 20mg/day and imipramine 100mg/day for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression in other studies.

Additional research is needed to better understand the mechanisms associated with saffron as a therapy for major depressive disorder as well as developing an optimal treatment schedule, including dose and length of therapy.

Saffron As a Treatment For Depression?
Saffron As a Treatment For Depression?

Saffron, a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, has now undergone several trials examining its antidepressant effects and, in a recent meta-analysis, was confirmed to be effective for the treatment of major depression.

The objective of the study is provide an expanded systematic analysis of the completed clinical studies on saffron and depression, detailing dosages, extract sources, standardizations, safety profile and treatment duration; and, through a narrative review, to examine its potential antidepressant mechanisms of action. 

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