BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES AND MEDICINAL USE OF SAFFRON (CROCUS SATIVUS L.)
From ancient times, the saffron Crocus sativus L. has been widely used as a drug to promote health and fight disease, especially in the Middle East and southeast Asia. Saffron is cultivated in different parts of the world, but currently mainly in Iran. In view of its wide range of medical uses, the saffron has undergone extensive phytochemical and biochemical studies and variety of biologically active ingredients have been isolated. Characteristic components of saffron are crocin responsible for the colour, picrocrocin responsible for the bitter taste and safranal responsible for the odour and aroma. Saffron is non toxic in animal studies (LD50 20.7 g/kg), non cytotoxic in vitro studies (LD50 200 m kg/ml). During the last decade, from different laboratories in the world, data were reported on the effect of saffron on coronary artery diseases; on learning behaviour; on ocular blood flow and retinal function; on blood pressure; on contraceptive, anti-inflammatory and antiatherosclerosis activities; antigenotoxic and cytotoxic activities. The goal of this presentation is to summarise and discuss the scientific data on biomedical properties of saffron and its main ingredients, especially on anticancer and antitumor activities. It should be borne in mind that health benefits of saffron may also be from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. With natural agents, such as saffron, the hope is that their availability, lack of obvious toxicity at effective dose and ability to act against different human health conditions by various mechanisms, will allow their introduction as a potential medical drug in clinical trials.
Abdullaev, F. (2007). BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES AND MEDICINAL USE OF SAFFRON (CROCUS SATIVUS L.). Acta Hortic. 739, 339-345
anticancer effect, antigenotoxic, components of saffron, cytotoxic activity, natural agents