By Dr. Mark Stengler, NMD, MS.
Saffron is an expensive culinary herb used in various forms, including foods, pharmaceuticals, traditional herbal therapy, and as a dietary supplement. The active compounds from Saffron are taken from the dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L. Saffron. The known active constituents of this plant have been studied for many conditions, including anxiety, depression, learning problems, Alzheimer’s disease, prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. There are different types of standardization of Saffron products available on the market.
“Compared to the placebo, Saffron extract significantly reduced negative mood and symptoms related to stress and anxiety.”
A meta-analysis of 7 studies with Saffron was conducted to examine the effectiveness and safety of the treatment of major depressive disorder compared to placebo and pharmaceutical antidepressants. Overall, Saffron supplementation was shown to be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder compared to a placebo and comparable to pharmaceutical antidepressants. In addition, Saffron use was not associated with an increased risk of adverse events compared to placebo or pharmaceutical antidepressants.
A separately published study examined Saffron extract in people reporting low mood. Compared to the placebo, Saffron extract significantly reduced negative mood and symptoms related to stress and anxiety.
“…standardized saffron extract known as Affron® has published studies showing benefits for mood, including stress and anxiety, at 28 mg daily.”
Saffron supplements have been shown to be safe and effective for moderate anxiety and depression. I recommend using a standardized product that has peer-reviewed published studies. For example, standardized saffron extract known as Affron® has published studies showing benefits for mood, including stress and anxiety, at 28 mg daily. If you have depression, consult with a healthcare provider to better understand the causes of your condition and treatment options.
The published research demonstrates that Saffron extracts are safe. I recommend Elevated Mood, which contains Affron® standardized Saffron extract, a form used in several published studies. The same formula also contains a concentrated Ashwagandha extract to support a healthy mood when under stress.
Kell, G., Rao, A., Beccaria, G., Clayton, P., Inarejos-García, A. M., & Prodanov, M. (2017). affron®, a novel saffron extract (Crocus sativus L.) improves mood in healthy adults over 4 weeks in a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 33, 58–64. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.06.001
Singletary, K. (2020). Saffron: Potential Health Benefits. Nutrition Today, 55(6), 294–303. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000449.
Yang, X., & Chen, X. (2018). Comparative efficacy and safety of Crocus sativus L. for treating mild to moderate major depressive disorder in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 14, 1297. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.2147/NDT.S157550.
Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at www.americasnaturaldoctor.com His clinic website is www.markstengler.com