African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 707

Review

Distribution, chemical composition and medicinal importance of saffron (Crocus sativus L.)

Sabbi Jan*
  • Sabbi Jan*
  • Cytogenetics and Reproductive Biology Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, 190 006, J&K, India.
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Aijaz A. Wani
  • Aijaz A. Wani
  • Cytogenetics and Reproductive Biology Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, 190 006, J&K, India.
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Azra N. Kamili
  • Azra N. Kamili
  • Centre of Research for Development, University of Kashmir 190 006, J&K, India.
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Mahpara Kashtwari
  • Mahpara Kashtwari
  • Cytogenetics and Reproductive Biology Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, 190 006, J&K, India.
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  •  Received: 18 August 2014
  •  Accepted: 27 November 2014
  •  Published: 31 December 2014

Abstract

Crocus sativus L. is native to Iran and Greece, and is now cultivated largely in Southern Europe, Tibet and other countries. In India, it is mainly cultivated in Kashmir. C. sativus is an important medicinal plant with aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, expectorant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-depressant, anticancer and anti-tumor activities. Phytochemical investigations of the species have revealed the presence of a number of important carotenoids especially crocetin and its glycosidic forms such as crocin, picrocrocin and safranal. The genetic origin of C. sativus is believed to have occurred by auto-triploidy or by allopolyploidy and Crocus cartwrightianus is believed to be its most probable ancestor. World over, saffron shows a declining trend in production and productivity due to high labour cost, lack of variability for major economic traits and poor economic returns. This review focuses on the detailed distribution, chemical composition and the medicinal importance of saffron.

 

Key words: Crocus sativus, crocin, picrocrocin, safranal, medicinal properties.