Saffron is an exotic spice that has been used for centuries in culinary dishes and traditional medicine practices. It gives dishes like Spanish paella, Iranian saffron rice, and Indian stew recipes their signature golden color. It is also a potent nutritional powerhouse with anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and other health benefits. Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptian healers used saffron as an antidepressant and herbal remedies for gastrointestinal issues. Saffron extract, derived from the vibrant red stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower, has gained attention for its potential health benefits. In recent years, saffron extract has also become popular as a natural dietary supplement. Let’s delve into the benefits it offers and any possible side effects you should be aware of.
Benefits Of Saffron Extract
Saffron extract has been associated with mood-boosting properties
Research suggests that it may help alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression and promote feelings of well-being. Its three main constituents – crocin, crocetin(carotenoid pigments in saffron) and safranal – work together to protect your DNA and tRNA from damage. These compounds boost non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and improve mood. It benefits your mood by reducing oxidative stress, which can contribute to depression. In a randomized trial, saffron improved the ease of getting to sleep and the quality of sleep in people with chronic insomnia.
It also work by increasing the production of certain brain chemicals that increase feelings of happiness and well-being. The extract is believed to enhance the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in regulating mood. Saffron’s crocin and crocetin are believed to increase levels of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter known to affect your mood. It has also been shown to decrease depression and improve irritability in people with fibromyalgia. Moreover, The saffron group also experienced a decrease in Premenstrual syndrome(PMS) symptoms, such as fatigue and mood swings.
Saffron extract for weight loss
The ‘sunshine spice’ has been shown to suppress appetite. In an 8-week trial, overweight women who consumed saffron in the form of supplements felt fuller and snacked less frequently than those in the placebo group, helping them lose weight. Studies have indicated that saffron extract can help reduce snacking and curb appetite, contributing to a decrease in overall calorie intake. In a small study, women who took saffron for two months snacked less and lost more weight than the control group. This natural extract may assist in controlling emotional eating and promoting weight loss. Including saffron extract in your weight management routine may be beneficial.
Saffron extract for eye health
Saffron extract contains compounds with antioxidant properties, such as crocin and crocetin, which are believed to protect the eyes from oxidative stress. These compounds have shown the potential in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, improve visual acuity, and support overall eye health.
Saffron extract is aphrodisiac for man
Saffron is traditionally thought to be an aphrodisiac and some research supports its role in improving libido. It has also been shown to improve drug-induced sexual dysfunction in men and women who take antidepressants such as fluoxetine. For men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. In one study, saffron extract increased penile tumescence and rigidity and was associated with a significant increase in sperm production.
Saffron extract may reduce PMS
Saffron may help alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is a common condition that affects between 20 percent and 40 percent of women of reproductive age. Symptoms of PMS include pelvic pain, abdominal cramps, mood swings and food cravings. One study showed that taking 30 mg of saffron per day improved PMS symptoms over two menstrual cycles.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
The antioxidants present in saffron extract can help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. By neutralizing harmful free radicals, saffron extract may contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer. The main compound in saffron, crocetin, has been shown to have antioxidant properties and reduce inflammation. It has also been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and obesity, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Saffron contains crocetin and other compounds that may reduce inflammation in the body.
Side Effects and Precautions
While saffron extract offers promising benefits, it’s crucial to consider potential side effects and exercise caution.Here are a few important points to keep in mind:
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid saffron extract due to limited research on its safety during these periods.
Allergies: Some individuals may be allergic to saffron. If you experience symptoms like itching, rashes, or difficulty breathing after consuming saffron extract, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
Interactions: Saffron extract may interact with certain medications, including antidepressants and blood thinners. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting saffron extract if you are currently taking any medications.
In conclusion, saffron extract offers several potential benefits, including mood enhancement, weight management support, eye health improvement, and antioxidant properties. However, be careful not to go overboard with saffron, consume it in moderation and make sure to check with a medical professional before making any dietary changes.