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How saffron helps with depression?

saffron flowers


Anxiety and depression are two of the most frequent forms of mental illness, with depression as one of the leading causes of disability throughout the globe. There are a variety of factors, including biological, emotional, psychological, and socioeconomic factors, that might contribute to the formation of depression and anxiety. Both the serotonergic system and chronic inflammation, particularly brain inflammation, are thought to contribute to the development of depression in some way.

The treatment for these conditions continues to include several factors. There has been research done to assess whether or not traditionally used medicinal plants, for example saffron, have the ability to help promote mental health.

Saffron contains active chemicals that have been shown to prevent the intake of serotonin, dopamine, & norepinephrine. There is some evidence that saffron may also influence the neurotransmission of serotonin and dopamine. This is one of the probable components of saffron that is being researched for its ability to boost a happy mood and relaxation.

How does saffron help with depression?

Picrocrocin is responsible for the distinctive bitter taste, crocins and crocetins are responsible for the distinctive deep yellow colour of safranin, and safranin is responsible for such hay-like aroma. The primary bioactive constituents of saffron seem to be crocins and crocetins. Crocins and crocetins are responsible for the distinctive deep yellow colour of safranin. It is thought that these drugs give antidepressant effects through several mechanisms, the majority of which have largely been examined in animals. The majority of these pathways have also been investigated. There is still a pressing need for testing on humans.

At the moment, the selling price of a kilogramme of saffron might reach up to $11,000. The labour-intensive manufacture is the primary reason for the high price of saffron. In order to make one kilogramme of saffron, 450,000 stigmas must be selected from around 150,000 crocus blooms. These important stigmas include four bioactive chemicals that have potential use in medicine and include carotenoids in large amounts, including both lycopene & beta-carotenes. Additionally, these stigmas contain medicinally relevant lycopene.

Antioxidant effect

Crocin, quercitrin, & safranin are all powerful antioxidants that may combat depression by preventing or alleviating oxidative stress, which is known to be elevated in depressed patients. Crocin and crocetin were particularly promising in this regard. There is a synergistically impact when all three are together, which studies have proven to enhance potency under these settings.

Anti-inflammatory reactions

It has been shown that depression is linked to elevated levels of C-reactive proteins, and inflammation is thought to have a role in the development of this condition. In the lab, it has been shown that saffron has potent anti-inflammatory qualities. These characteristics most likely originate from quercetin and catechin, although further research is required to determine the exact mechanism of action.

Serotonergic action

Traditional treatments for depression often include the use of SSRIs like fluoxetine. Crocins could have a similar effect, although their activity at serotonin specific receptors is antagonistic. Saffron is now the subject of research for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, with this activity being the hypothesised mechanism behind its effects.

Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) effects

Dysregulation of the HPA axis has also been the subject of substantial research in the context of depressive disorders. It is believed to influence the availability of neurotransmitters, as well as oxidative stress and inflammation. Research indicates that saffron may reduce the HPA reaction to stressful conditions; however, these studies are still in the early stages.


Crocin and safranin have been shown to have a neuroprotective impact in rats subjected to stress, according to preliminary research. It is well known that the majority of traditional antidepressants boost levels of neurologically neurotrophic factors (BDNF), a protein in the brain that is believed to have a part in the pathophysiology of depression. A number of studies have observed that saffron & crocin have a comparable impact on the levels of BDNF in rats that have been subjected to stressful settings.

Benefits of saffron in mental health

An effective antioxidant

Saffron is packed with a remarkable range of different plant components. Antioxidants are chemicals that shield your cells from damage caused by free radicals & oxidative stress. These are the molecules.

Antioxidants found in saffron include:

  • Crocin
  • kaempferol
  • crocetin
  • Safranal

The carotenoid pigments crocin and crocetin give saffron its distinctive red hue. Potential antidepressant effects have been shown in both compounds:

  • Prevent further harm to brain cells.
  • Reduce swelling and pain
  • Slow down your stomach's digestive process
  • Facilitate weight loss

Safranal is responsible for the unique flavour and scent of saffron. Mood, memory, & learning capacities may all benefit, and brain cells may be protected from oxidative stress, according to the research.

Finally, saffron flower petals are a good source of kaempferol. Anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and mood-lifting qualities have all been attributed to this molecule.

Saffron can improve mood

The spice saffron is sometimes referred to as the sunshine spice. This is not only due to the vivid hue it has, but it also has the potential to help lift your attitude.

Saffron pills were shown to be much more efficient than placebos for treating the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, according to a meta-analysis of five separate trials

Conventional therapies for depression include fluoxetine, imipramine, and citalopram. However, other research indicated that taking 30 milligrammes of saffron per day was equally as helpful as these medications. In addition, saffron was associated with a lower incidence of adverse effects in patients as compared to other medications.

It would suggest that the thread-like stigma and the petals of the saffron flower are both beneficial against mild to severe depression.

Although these results are encouraging, more extensive research on humans with a greater number of participants is required before medical professionals can confidently prescribe saffron as a therapy for depression.


Saffron seems to be an effective therapy for individuals suffering from major depression that is mild to moderate, and maybe for other types of depression as well, such as postpartum depression, according to the most recent study that has been conducted on the subject. There is a possibility that saffron might be used as an additional treatment for depression or as primary therapy. Additionally, there is a possibility that bioactive components of saffron, such as crocin, could be isolated and used for their antidepressant properties. If you want to buy premium quality saffron, you can get it from Dorreen Saffron.

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