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November 2014

Saffron Might Improve Depression Symptoms

Saffron can improve depression symptoms in adults with major depressive disorder, according to new research.

Saffron is the dried stigma of the crocus (Crocus sativus) flower. Saffron may have anticancer, antidepressant, nerve protective, and antioxidant properties and may have effects on the immune system. Saffron has also been studied for its ability to improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, asthma, infertility, menstrual problems, and psoriasis.

In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for well-designed clinical trials evaluating the effects of saffron on depression symptoms in people with major depressive disorder. Five studies were ultimately identified for inclusion.

The researchers found that saffron significantly reduced depression symptoms when compared to placebo. Furthermore, when compared to antidepressant drugs, saffron was similarly effective in reducing symptoms.

The authors concluded that taking saffron can reduce depression symptoms. However, larger-scale, long-term studies are needed before firm conclusions can be made.

For information about saffron, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for depression, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Hausenblas HA, Saha D, Dubyak PJ, et al. Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Integr Med. 2013 Nov;11(6):377-83.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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