Is saffron the life-saving supplement we never knew we needed? Or is it just the next social media buzz vitamin that is not worth the hype or your hard-earned dollars? Well, today we’re breaking it all down.
What is Saffron? Is it good for your brain? Can it help treat depression and increase libido? And what does it do to your memory? Today we’re going to be discussing the top 8 BIGGEST benefits of taking Saffron Supplements. Let’s dive right in.
What is Saffron?
Well simply put, it’s the most expensive spice in the world. With its most pricey offerings costing somewhere between $500 and $5000 dollars for about 1 pound or 450 grams. But not too worry in supplement form it's not that expensive, and should really be considered … But I'm going to pump the breaks there, I’m actually getting ahead of myself. Quick botany or biology lesson. It’s derived from the Crocus Sativus Flower… Saffron specifically refers to dried flowers or little red-like structures or stigmas. And there is way more than meets the eye to the saffron story. It has been used by people for 100’s of years and has many many medicinal and health-promoting properties. Which we’re diving into. Here are the top 8 reasons you need Saffron in your life.
Not sure what antioxidant is? Well, they are basically molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress. Free Radicals are basically crappy unstable atoms that go ham on the body Damaging cells, causing illness, aging, diseases, you name it. So if something is anti-oxidant or in this case an UBER POWERFUL thing that goes against oxidants, this plant compound can basically kick some serious free-radical butt.
Bear with me while I geek out here for a second. Saffron’s All-star antioxidant roster includes crocin, crocetin, safranal, and Kaempferol. And no there won't be a pop quiz on that later, but just remember that those ingredients have these superhero-type protection powers for the body. And they are also responsible for things like the color of saffron and giving it its distinct taste and aroma for sure, but some research out there suggests that these powerful antioxidants all protect the body against the bad stuff I mentioned earlier: illness, damaged cells, etc. and that’s only the first reason you may want saffron in your life.
According to researchers and several different studies, taking 30 mg of saffron daily over four weeks found significantly improved erectile function over placebo in men with erectile dysfunction related to antidepressants. Yep, the saffron was suggested to improve the overall function, libido, and satisfaction. And In those who identified as women, a similar study found that taking 30 mg increased sexual desire, and decreased sex-related pain compared to placebos.
6. Treat Depressive Symptoms.
Sayonara Depression, so long to sadness? Well maybe soon. I mean they don’t call Saffron the sunshine spice just because of its color, in fact, this encouraging herb goes way beyond that the call of duty when it comes to treating symptoms of mild to moderate depression. In one recent study, researchers found that taking 30 mg of saffron daily was just as effective as some other prescriptions like Fluoxetine, imipramine, and Citalopram- other more prescribed medications that are used for treating depression. The studied patients in this trial are also said to have experienced fewer side effects from taking saffron than compared to other treatments.
And in other studies, saffron supplements and placebo pills were both randomly given to patients and what they found was that the saffron supplements were significantly more effective at treating different levels of depression. Now if you currently take anti-depressant medication now, I am not saying ditch your current regimen altogether but maybe talk to your doctor about adding it into the mix with your other treatment. Maybe in the near future, we will see saffron take on a much larger role in treating depression.
5. Anti-cancer Properties
Okay don’t freak out but I'm going to share with you a super scary statistic. Nearly 40% of people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. So as you look around your classroom or workplace and see 10 people hanging around, 4 of those 10 will likely get some form of cancer.
Saffron is as I mentioned earlier super high in antioxidants. In other words, it can neutralize harmful free radicals that cause damage in one’s body aka, leading to things like cancer.
One published study from 2007 found that Saffron and its compounds selectively killed colon cancer cells or greatly suppressed their growth in test tubes… Oh and did not touch normal, non-cancerous cells. It rather left the normal cells unharmed.
In other animal model studies, similar findings were found for Skin, bone marrow, prostate, lung, breast, cervix, and several other cancer cells. Although not widely studied in humans yet, another promising study found that Crocin, the main antioxidant in saffron may make cells in the body more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs as well. So there definitely seems to be some promise in the cancer treatment department when it comes to Saffron and the main compounds it contains.
So there definitely seems to be some promise in the cancer treatment department when it comes to Saffron having anti-cancer properties.
Did you know that a recent study out of London said that Menstrual cramps can cause pain in the body that's almost as bad as having a heart attack? That my friends are terrifying, and although I have never personally suffered from them, I've treated a lot of patients who have pretty bad physical, emotional and psychological symptoms occurring before and during the start of their menstrual cycle.
Luckily here’s where Saffron comes into play. In a study that followed women ages 20-45 years old, they found that taking 30 MG of saffron daily was more effective than a placebo option at treating PMS Symptoms like pain, irritability, headaches, cravings, and so on. And yet another study of 35 women found that merely smelling, yes I said smelling, saffron for 20 minutes at a time, helped lower the stress levels of cortisol in their body and greatly reduced other symptoms like anxiety.
3. Weight Loss
You know we all do it, we get those munchies that lead to gaining that unwanted weight. Well fun fact for ya, saffron may just be the solution to all your late-night snack attacks. Want to drop a few pounds by spring break? Or heck just want your pants to fit a bit better? Well, pay close attention here then. According to one randomized study, folks taking saffron supplements reportedly felt more full and snacked less frequently than those in a placebo group. And over the course of the research, the team saffron group significantly lost more weight than those popping placebos. Now although more research is needed to find out the exact reason why Saffron aids in things like lowering BMI and snacking less, one possible scientific theory is that saffron elevates your mood, which is often associated with curbing one’s desire to snack which is often associated with snacking less.
2. Heart Disease
Want to hear one of the scariest statistics ever? In 2018 nearly 31 million adults were diagnosed with heart disease and nearly 1 out of every four deaths are because of it. Making it the number one killer. So I’ll make this short and sweet, if you are scared of heart disease like maybe it runs in your family? Or you already have high blood pressure and other factors. Saffron should really be considered. Yep in animal and test-tube studies, the crazy strong Antioxidant properties were found to lower blood cholesterol and prevent blood vessels and arteries from clogging. Which are some of the key risk factors for heart disease.
Brain shrinkage, atrophy, brain cell death. This sounds like something out of nightmares.
Sadly no it's a real issue that many around the world deal with. Alzheimer’s disease & dementia are caused by a progressive neurologic disorder that causes a continuous decline in thinking, behavior, and social skills. Yep, we have all seen the notebook and cried or even know someone personally that suffers from this and it is just so sad to see someone go from fully independent and functioning to steadily over time not be able to remember who they are, who their loved ones are or even take care of themselves. All the more reason you may want to start thinking early about Saffron. In a study that followed the effects of Vitamin E, turmeric, and saffron in the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers concluded that saffron’s antioxidant properties may improve cognition in adults with Alzheimer’s disease.