Treating depression with saffron

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Depression News(NaturalHealth365) Depression is recognized as an illness that is associated with traits like sadness, isolation, loss of interest, diminishing ability to enjoy life and feeling like a burden to loved ones. While these are all known costs to quality of life, conventional medicine seems to only believe that toxic drugs are the solution. In the United States alone, depression affects about 20% of the population and current treatment methods are ineffective – at best.

Let’s find a better way to treat depression

Undesirable side effects and the heavy cost of medication are two major drawbacks to conventional treatment programs for depression. Even the pharmaceutical industry warns consumers about their own products by stating that antidepressant drug users may experience more fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, agitation, depression and suicidal tendencies. Just one look at the “warning” label on most antidepressant medications and I can hardly believe this stuff can legally be sold to the public.

Does this sound like an effective solution to emotional problems?

Many natural healthcare providers and their patients are looking for a better way to eliminate mood disorders. Saffron is a popular natural remedy that researchers are now looking at for the treatment of depression. In fact, it is being compared to regular depression medications like, Prozac and Imipramine but without the negative side effects associated with conventional drugs.

What makes saffron so special

Saffron was used as an antidepressant in Traditional Persian medicine. The saffron threads are obtained from the petal part, the most expensive part of the herb, and also the stigma of the plant. A chemical analysis reveals that more than 150 components in saffron stigmas and carotenoids and monoterpene aldehydes were found to be more powerful components in saffron.

The volatile compounds, bitter principles and the dye materials in saffron are considered the primary constituents that are responsible for the anticovulsant, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. One study revealed that anxiety was alleviated by simply smelling saffron. Saffron triggered salivary secretion and significantly decreased the physiological bio-markers for stress.

This suggested that saffron can act as a potent side-effect free antidepressant. The active constituents in saffron – crocetin and crocin – were identified to exhibit protection from neuro-degenerative disorders like, memory loss and depression.

What do the studies say about saffron?

A 2005 study published in Phytotherapy Research investigated the effect of saffron versus placebo among 40 adults with depression. The participants of the study were either given a placebo or saffron extract for six weeks. The results revealed that saffron extracts were more effective than placebo in treating mild to moderate depression.

In another study, 30 adults with depression were given either saffron supplements or a common medication used for depression every day for six weeks. The findings of the study concluded that saffron was effective as an antidepressant and showed similar effects as a conventional depression medication.

Naturally, when it comes to ‘proper dosage’ – it’s important to work with a qualified healthcare provider to find what works best for you.

Are there any safety concerns with saffron?

Saffron is generally regarded as safe to use in cooking, however researchers warn that consuming high amounts of saffron – every day – may lead to side effects including dry mouth, nausea, dizziness and headaches. Doctors caution that pregnant women and patients that have bipolar disorder should not consume saffron supplements.

The long term effects of consuming saffron on a daily basis is not yet known. If you intend to consume this herb, as a supplement, consult your doctor regarding the dosage and safety.

Depression has been an increasingly significant health concern over the past several decades. In the near future, NaturalHealth365 will be offering more natural solutions – in the form of articles and Talk Hour audio programs. One thing is certain – you can overcome depression with an emphasis on fresh, unprocessed foods; high quality supplementation and simple changes to lifestyle habits.

Stay tuned – as we continue to report on natural solutions for depression like, yoga, herbs, vitamin D plus other nutrients – especially niacin!

Looking for natural health solutions? Sign up now – for our free, weekly show featuring the greatest minds in natural health and science plus a free gift!

References:
1. El-Alfy AT, Abourashed EA, Matsumoto RR.Nature against depression.Curr Med Chem. 2012;19(14):2229-41.
2. Fukui H, et.al; Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus). Phytomedicine. 2011 Jun 15;18(8-9):726-30.
3. Bathaie SZ, Mousavi SZ.New applications and mechanisms of action of saffron and its important ingredients. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Sep;50(8):761-86.
4. Akhondzadeh S, Fallah-Pour H, Afkham K, Jamshidi AH, Khalighi-Cigaroudi F. “Comparison of Crocus sativus L. and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a pilot double-blind randomized trial [ISRCTN45683816].” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2004 Sep 2;4:12.

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  • pm

    Saffron is also good for dry macular degeneration. There is much research to back this up on pub med.

  • saffron extract benefits

    Its nice article, Saffron is the best way to weight loss.

  • Gentleman Margaret Thatcher

    Is there any clue at all that saffron is dangerous? If there isnt, it is unreasonable to assume neither that it could be nor that it probably isnt. There are some extremely vague claims on the net that consuming saffron in large quantities is dangerous and that is about the spice. I am pretty sure saffron as a supplement already is a very large quantity either way and I dont think it is likely a reasonable to say that saffron is dangerous without some practical clue to that, as that is an extremely influential claim.