(Natural News) Many people battle with depression and anxiety. However, drugs used to treat these conditions cause serious side effects. Because of this, a team of researchers from China, Iran, and the U.K. attempted to test saffron (Crocus sativus), a herbal medicine, can be used to treat depression and anxiety. And true enough, they found that saffron is a useful herb for fighting against depression and anxiety.
The research team carried out a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study to examine the effects of saffron extract for the treatment of anxiety and depression. For the study, they enrolled 60 participants suffering from depression and anxiety.
The participants received either a capsule containing 50 milligrams of saffron or a placebo capsule twice a day for 12 weeks. They also answered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaires at the beginning of the study and six and 12 weeks after the treatment.
Only 54 participants completed the study. Still, the results showed that those who took saffron reported significant changes through their BDI and BAI scores.
Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that the intake of saffron supplements had a significant effect on the treatment of anxiety and depression disorder. The findings appeared in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine.
Earlier studies have also proven the positive effects of saffron on depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that saffron is as effective as antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac), but is quicker and does not cause side effects.
More than just a spice
Saffron is used in cooking. It is a spice that comes from the flowers of the saffron plant. The flower produces dark red stigmas or threads that are removed carefully by hand and dried, making it one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron is grown in the Middle East and parts of Europe. It is most commonly cultivated in Iran, India, and Greece.
Saffron is also used for other purposes, such as a fabric dye and a perfume ingredient. Moreover, saffron is used for medicinal purposes, such as:
- Saffron aids in weight loss: Saffron can help you lose weight by increasing your satiety and reducing your urge to snack. Research has shown that moderately overweight women who took one capsule of 176.5 mg of saffron extract lost more weight than those who received a placebo. They also snacked less.
- Saffron helps relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS): A study on women revealed that women who took 15 mg of saffron twice a day exhibited reduced or eliminated both physical and emotional PMS symptoms. The saffron supplement also reduced depressive symptoms. Researchers believe that these effects are caused by saffron’s ability to stimulate the production of serotonin. Most PMS symptoms result from disrupted serotonin at some points in the monthly cycle.
- Saffron keeps the brain well-functioning: Crocin, the active component of saffron, keeps the brain cells young and healthy, according to studies. Crocin protects brain cells from free radicals. It also reduces inflammation in the brain and inhibits certain markers of Parkinson’s disease.
Choosing and using saffron supplements
For mood-boosting purposes, choose a supplement that contains saffron extract that has been tested for purity and efficacy. For balancing mood and stress, saffron is often combined with adaptogens like ashwagandha or Rhodiola. Adaptogens gave an overall balancing effect by increasing energy or calming stress. For weight loss, you can take about 90 mg before or with breakfast and another 90 mg at dinner.
Read more news stories and studies on natural treatments for depression and anxiety by going to NaturalMedicine.news.