Saffron grows in a sub-tropical climate and can be adapted to temperature. It blooms in the fall. The commercial part of this plant is the dried red saffron stigma which has a yellowish color because of Crocetin and its glycoside, Crocin as the dye materials. This plant has so many properties such as coloring, flavoring, medicinal, that’s why it is highly valued for different industries. In recent years, people tend to pay more attention to natural substances which provide antioxidant effects. There are many plants, fruits, vegetables, etc. which are full of antioxidants; saffron is one of the strong antioxidant sources that can inhibit many degenerative illnesses including various cancers. Since its antioxidant activity is high it has impacts on improving health and releasing different disorders, too. Saffron is the most expensive spice around the world. This spice is used for its color in many industries such as food and beverage, medicinal, cosmetics, etc. Saffron provides protection for the vital body organs such as kidney, heart, lungs, and liver.
Saffron stigmas contain many molecules such as fats, sugars, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, terpenes, anthocyanins, and carotenoids. Between all these substances carotenoids are the most important ones because they present the taste, color, and aroma of this precious spice.
Recently, the petals of crocus sativus showed the Kaempferol presence; it is an important antioxidant. It is reported that Kaempferol showed an impact on different cancer cells and lead to its death. It also has an important role as an anti-aging; when it is extracted it has a different dosage of alcohol.
In many studies, the antioxidant activity of Crocus Sativus which is mainly known as saffron has been determined.
The antioxidant is an element that helps body organs not to be damaged or be in an imbalance position; this molecule prevents oxidation. There are different types of antioxidant such as enzymes, vitamins, and glutathione. Antioxidants are the most considerable compounds which are used in modern pharmacology. This substance could decrease the glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood as well as lower body weight.
Saffron is an important expensive natural spice with a red-orange color that has antioxidant effects; because of its color and flavor, dried saffron stigma is highly valued. Saffron is known as a culinary spice and medicinal herb for its potential pharmaceutical properties. Saffron carotenoids have a strong impact on different body organs and human health due to its high capacity of antioxidants. There are a few important carotenoids in dried saffron stigma. The bright yellow color of saffron, Crocin, its aroma, Safranal, and its bitter taste, Picrocrocin are three major chemical constituents of saffron. The antioxidant activity of saffron is higher than other plants or vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots. Saffron has a considerable antioxidant activity because of some bioactive constituents of it. Crocin as the most important constituent of saffron stigma is water-soluble carotenoid which has biological activities. The yellow color of saffron is because of Crocin; it contains gentiobiose. Crocin due to its antioxidant activity is beneficial and helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and diabetic vascular complications.
As mentioned above, one of the powerful antioxidant sources is Crocin saffron as a special and unique carotenoid and it makes a bright yellow color. Because of its active ingredients high capacity of antioxidant, this plant can be used for medicinal purposes as a treatment of various disorders such as diabetes, overweight, obesity, neural and cardiovascular disorders and it has demonstrated many activities such as anticancer, anti-toxic, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, anti-depressant and mood improving, learning and memory improving and antioxidant, anticonvulsant, anti-tumor, and also spreading oxygen in body tissues are other important agents of saffron stigmas ingredients.
Since obesity has been known as a type of body disorder, it is related to many diseases, especially diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, etc. Scientists try to use more herbal medicine and extracts as a treatment of obesity. Because of many substances and constituents in saffron stigma such as Crocin, Crocetin, Safranal, Picrocrocin, and other substances, it has been shown antioxidant properties.
Nowadays, people’s life is full of stress because of the modern lifestyle. There are many factors that affect our body to be faced with oxidative stress. They include alcohol, psychological stress, a cold environment, automobiles, infections, pollution, smoking, industrial fume extraction, obesity, and overweight, etc. The body defense system is not sufficient in some situations such as oxidative stress. So some nutrients need to enter the body.
A diet full of antioxidants can decrease insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Therefore, saffron as an anti-inflammatory compound and anti-obesity herbal medicine can prevent overweight problems directly and indirectly. Not only saffron is useful for preventing obesity, but also it helps people with overweight problems to control or manage their disease. For warranting of this property of saffron as an anti-obesity herb, more clinical and pre-clinical studies need to be done.
In recent years many studies have been done on saffron and its medicinal properties. They demonstrated saffron stigmas can prevent the growth of cancer and tumor cells without damaging normal cells. Another study reported considerable anti-proliferation cancer cells of Crocin as one of the main saffron constituents which is responsible for the saffron color. Crocin and Safranal have shown potential antioxidant activity; it is approved that saffron can be used in medical science because of its significant nutritional and pharmaceutical properties.
Since one of the common causes of death especially cancer and cardiovascular diseases is oxidative stress, using enough antioxidants can inhibit or suspend these disorders. Dried saffron stigma as a spice that produces natural yellow color is the dried part of the Crocus Sativus plant; it is used as an antioxidant, anticancer and a dying agent in various industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, etc. by many nations around the world. The antioxidant effect of saffron extract has been investigated by many types of research. These studies showed the potential power of saffron as an antioxidant agent which strongly provides protection to vital organs of the body.
Since saffron is known as one of the main medicinal herbs, it is used in many medicines because of wide-ranging therapeutic advantages. Most studies have been focused on the saffron antioxidant activity. Modern researches on pharmacological fields investigated and confirmed the antioxidant, antidepressant, anticancer and anti-tumor activities of saffron. There are many other potential compounds in saffron that can be used in different medicines and if they are discovered saffron is sure to become a significant and important part of the therapeutic and pharmaceutical field as an anticancer therapy. The studies also showed that saffron stigma extracts contain high antioxidant capacity. In the last decade, researchers demonstrated that high antioxidant capacity plants have a vital role in the inhibition of diabetics.
Saffron can improve the function of different body organs because it has anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. Diabetic affect body functions by increasing oxidative stress. The blood sugars can be reduced by saffron ethanolic extract and improving body weight. Saffron stigma also showed many properties such as anticancer, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, etc.
Lahmass I, Ouahhoud S, Elyoubi M, Benabbas R, Sabouni A, Asehraou A, Sahraoui E; “Evaluation of antioxidant activities of saffron stigma and path as the by-product of Crocus sativus L.”; MOJ Biology and Medicine; 2018.
Mahmoud Hasanpour, Mahboobeh Ashrafi, Hoda Erjaee, Saeed Nazifi; “The effect of saffron aqueous extract on oxidative stress parameters and important biochemical enzymes in the testis of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats”; Physiol Pharmacol 22 (2018) 28-37.
Keti Zeka, Randolph Arroo, Ketan Ruparelia, Sara Bernardi; “Kaempferol, a powerful antioxidant from Crocus Sativus L. Flowers: An in vitro study”; Italian journal of anatomy and embryology; September 2014.
Maryam Mashmoul, Azrina Azlan, Huzwah Khaza’ai, Barakatun Nisak Mohd Yusof, Sabariah Mohd Noor; “Saffron: A Natural Potent Antioxidant as a Promising Anti-Obesity Drug”; Antioxidants 2013.
Angelo Gismondi, Mariagiovanna Serio, Lorena Canuti, Antonella Canini; “Biochemical, Antioxidant and Antineoplastic Properties of Italian Saffron (Crocus sativus L.)”; American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2012.
Hassane Makhlouf, Mariam Saksouk, Jean Habib and Ramez Chahine; “Determination of antioxidant activity of saffron taken from the flower of Crocus sativus grown in Lebanon”; African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 10(41), pp. 8093-8100, 3 August, 2011.
Kumpati Premkumar, Arabandi Ramesh; “Anticancer, Antimutagenic and antioxidant potential of saffron: an overview of current awareness and future perspectives”; Functional plant science and biotechnology; 2010.