Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3743

Review

Saffron chemicals and medicine usage

Mohammad Sharrif Moghaddasi
Islamic Azad University, Saveh Branch, Felestin esq.39187/366, Saveh, Iran.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 January 2010
  •  Published: 18 March 2010

Abstract

The reputation of growing saffron is about 2500 years. Apparently saffron originally comes from Greece and Mediterranean region. There are some researchers who believe that origin of this plant comes from Iran. Iran is considered to be one of the greatest producers of saffron and nearly 90% of production of saffron is produced in Iran. There are varieties of chemical components present in the stigma of the saffron plant. These chemical components include carbohydrates, minerals, mucilage, vitamins such as riboflavin and thiamine, color pigments such as crocin, anthocyanin, carotene, lycopene, Zeaxanthin and aromatic terpenic essence called “safranal” and flavoring substances such as picrocrocin. Crocin (C44 H64 O24) is the most influential chemical in the coloring of saffron. Other than crocin, saffron is also made up of free aglycone crocin and a small number of anthocyanin pigments. The oil soluble color pigments include lycopene, alpha carotene, beta carotene and Zeaxanthin. Today, based on growing and effective applications of saffron in medical fields and in alternative medicine, it has attracted the attention of many researchers. Saffron may substitute chemical medicines. Some medical properties of saffron are as follows: helps digestion, strengthens the stomach and is anti-tympanites, activates the sexual desire, is analgesic, especially for colicky pains gingivitis, fights tumors and collection of free radicals (thus reacting against cancerous cells), is euphoriant and alleviates neuralgia, is a tranquilizer, cures insomnia, strengthens memory power, improve concentration, reacts against spasm, fights depression, the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, controls blood pressure disorders, lowers high cholesterol levels, cures iron deficiency (anemia) in girls, reduces chances of such heart diseases as arteriosclerosis, and helps improve heart conditions (due to the presence of thiamin, riboflavin and mineral components), cures respiratory disorders such as asthma, cough, influenza and cold, helps blood circulation in the retina, cures macula lutea and retinopathy ischemic caused by old age.  Cures rheumatism and bruises when used externally, cures amebic dysentery, measles, and inflammation of the liver, splenomegaly and urogenital infections. The application of saffron in cancer-treatment experiments performed on laboratory animals has proved successful.

 

Key words: Saffron, crocin, picrocrocin, carotene, iycopene, antitympanit, analgesic, fights tumor, antidepression.