Effects of saffron components and its extracts on different disorders

Introduction:
Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus Sativus (scientific name of saffron) plant. It can be used as a natural food color and additive, traditional medicine, etc.
Saffron extract is taken from Crocus Sativus plant. Different studies showed that using Saffron as a combination of other materials could be effective at solving different problems and disorders in the body.
Due to interaction between different organs of the body and saffron, it is assumed that saffron components and its extract have beneficial effects in treating many disorders.
Saffron extract has a significant intracellular antioxidant activity. This antioxidant is responsible for preventing many disorders including neurodegenerative injury, cardiovascular diseases, hurt on kidney, brain, treating burn wounds, etc. Saffron has different features because of its antioxidant properties and other main constituents it has.

Saffron constituents:
The researches claim that there are about 150 compounds in saffron. Three main saffron components are Crocin C44H64O24, Safranal C10H26O and Picrocrocin. Crocin and Crocetin C20H24O4 are responsible for the color of saffron and are water soluble carotenoids. Picrocrocin and Safranal are the components responsible for the bitter taste of saffron and its aroma, respectively. 

Saffron extracts uses:
Since saffron has many properties, it can be used in different industries and products as a natural substance; such as pharmaceutical, medical, food and beverage, chemicals, vitamins and supplements, etc.
Saffron as a natural medicinal herb indicates numerous health properties and is used as a treatment of different health problems occur in the body such as obesity, memory impairment and improve learning, Alzheimer, Parkinson, raise sleep quality, decrease anxiety, stress and mild to moderate depression, cancer and tumor cells growth inhibition, etc.

Obesity:
Obesity is a common disorder in the world, since it can lead to many problems related to human health, and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc. in the last decades; researchers try to find a solution to overcome overweight.
Totally, there is an upward tendency for using natural extracts and herbal products in obesity treatment. Scientists try to use natural products, resources and herbal medicine as a treatment of obesity. Saffron is used as a spice, food colorant, flavor and a medicine by many nations all over the world; this plant is a source of carotenoids, especially antioxidant. Antioxidants are the most considerable compound and since saffron extract is a rich source of antioxidant, it can be useful for solving the overweight problem.

Improve learning
Saffron extract can improve learning if it combines with Crocin; because of its effect on increasing the potential amount of antioxidant in the brain.
As mentioned above, saffron has many ingredients; four of its main components are Crocin, Crocetin, Safranal and Picrocrocin. The scientists investigated the effect of Crocin and Crocetin on memory, learning behavior and skills related to the brain activities. The results demonstrate that oral administration of saffron might be helpful as a treatment for neurodegenerative disorders related to memory.


Alzheimer
Alzheimer is one of the most common disorders of mental processes; it appears almost among the people of over 65 years old; it is caused by oxidation. In some researches the effects of antioxidant properties of Crocus Sativus has been investigated on Alzheimer disease. The result of these studies demonstrates the antioxidant and antiamyloidogenic activity of saffron extract. It also determines the affirmative effect of the saffron constituents on cognitive function.
During the primary stages of the Alzheimer’s disease as a mental disorder, investigators have demonstrated that saffron extract can diminish the signs of this kind of disorder and prevent its expansion.

Sleep quality:
In traditional medicine, saffron has been used as a sedative and relaxant. This property of saffron extract and safranal has confirmed by many studies. These studies showed that it has a slight improvement on sleep quality.

Anxiety and stress:
Researches about the effect of saffron extract on anxiety and stress indicated a considerable decrease in negative symptoms and moods of being stressed or anxious.

Mild to moderate depression:
Nowadays, many studies have been done on using medicinal herbs for treatment of different diseases. Saffron has known as an herbal treatment and antidepressant agents, too; the stigmas, safranal and crocetin of saffron demonstrate a natural antidepressant in comparison with chemical antidepressant drugs; and it has more benefits in treatment of mild to moderate depression.
Other studies on human and animals demonstrate that saffron has a significant role on improvement depression. The antidepressant activity of saffron and its function on brain by increasing norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine concentration, cause it to be known as an herbal medicine of depression. Saffron extract in some researches combined with other medicine. Findings in this study showed that its extract has antidepressant properties in both human and animal models.
In another study, saffron extract and its constituent crocin were used as an aphrodisiac in folk medicine. It had an effect on neural elements in the brain; the extract and saffron constituents such as safranal and crocin decrease the morphine withdrawal syndrome signs. Several evidences also showed that the organic saffron extract and its constituents can decrease depression in patients. No side effects were reported.

Cancer:
Saffron is a good source of antioxidant; so it has been shown as an anticancer element. The effect of saffron extract on different types of cancer has been investigated in many studies. Some of the researchers were detected the treatment of different cancers such as lung, breast, intestine, pancreas, etc. using saffron this constituent.
The findings of various studies demonstrate the potential activity of saffron against cancer cells and its role on inhibition of proliferation. Saffron extract (that totally is known as SE) and one of its major constituent, crocin have anti proliferative effects on cancer cells.

Aging:
When the amount of antioxidant reduces, more problems occur in the body. Aging is one of the most common problems people face during their life. It could be controlled by different process such as a proper diet, enough exercise during the day and changes in lifestyle as well as using herbal medicine. As mentioned above, saffron stigmas are a rich source of antioxidant and can suspend the effects of aging.

Conclusion:
Nowadays, most of the patients prefer to treat by traditional or herbal medicine since it is safer with fewer side effects on the body; and also because of various agents in spices, vegetables, fruits and herbs. The stigma of the Crocus Sativus plant which is known as saffron can be used for different purposes including food colorant, spice, medicine, etc.
All the researches have been done with the purpose of evaluating and determining the action of saffron on different problems occur to human's body. Based on experimental results, saffron showed considerable effects against different diseases.  
In order to prevent many diseases and disorders such as depression, Alzheimer, cardiovascular, anxiety, stress, neural injury, cancer, tumor, etc. saffron extract could be used because of its main components and antioxidant properties.   
Crocin has been recognized as the most outstanding constituent of saffron extract which can decrease depression signs, reinforce memory, prevent neuronal degeneration, increase concentration and generally improve mental system. Moreover, it can be effective to increase body organs function. Saffron stigma and its main components including crocin and safranal indicate significant antioxidant activity.
The safety, effectiveness and benefits of Crocus Sativus chemical compounds which has therapeutic and pharmacological effects, cause to be known as a rich source of many herbal and chemical drugs.




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