Last modified on June 15th, 2023
You may know what saffron is as far as cooking, but what is a saffron supplement used for? Saffron supplements can have powerful mental health benefits.
These supplements can boost mood and libido and support weight loss.
Below, we talk more about what a saffron supplement is used for and what the benefits can be.
An Overview of Saffron Supplements
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice.
One pound of this brightly colored spice can cost between $500 to $5,000.
The reason saffron is expensive is that the harvesting method is very labor-intensive and has to be done by hand.
The supplements are less expensive, and saffron has been used medicinally since ancient times.
What is a Saffron Supplement Used For?
Back to the original question, what is a saffron supplement used for?
Saffron has a lot of plant compounds that work as antioxidants to protect your cells from the effects of oxidative stress and free radicals.
Saffron antioxidants include crocin and crocetin, among others. Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments that give the spice a signature vibrant red color.
Both compounds may reduce inflammation and protect your brain cells and can act as antidepressants.
There’s evidence that these compounds might help with weight loss and reduce appetite.
There’s also a compound called safranal, and it may help your mood and memory, protect your brain cells from oxidative stress, and help your learning ability.
Then, there’s kaempferol, a compound in the petals of the saffron flower that’s been shown to have antidepressant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
May Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Saffron is the so-called sunshine spice, not necessarily because of its color but because it can positively affect your mood.
In a review of five separately conducted studies, saffron supplements appeared significantly more effective than placebos at helping with the symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
In other studies, a daily dose of 30 mg of saffron was as effective as conventional treatments for depression, such as prescription drugs like Fluoxetine.
People taking saffron in these studies also appeared to have fewer side effects than people taking traditional drugs for the treatment of depression.
Multiple parts of the saffron plant, including the petals, can help combat depression that’s mild to moderate.
When asked what saffron is used for, one of the interesting areas of research right now is on the potential benefits of fighting cancer, although this research is very early.
In test-tube studies, saffron has been shown to kill cancer cells selectively or stop their growth while not harming healthy cells.
Specifically, test-tube studies have seen the anticancer benefits of saffron on colon cancer cells as well as bone marrow, lung, breast, cervix, skin, and several other types of cancer.
Crocin in saffron may also help make cancer cells more susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy.
This isn’t to say there’s a lot of research on humans yet, but it’s something worth exploring.
Reduction of PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome can include physical, mental, and psychological symptoms before a period begins.
Saffron, in studies, has been linked with some benefits for reducing these symptoms.
In one study, women between the ages of 20 and 45 took 30 mg of saffron daily, which was more effective than a placebo at helping with symptoms like pain, cravings, headaches, and irritability.
In a separate study, smelling saffron for 20 minutes reduces symptoms of PMS, such as anxiety, and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone.
Along with helping with symptoms of depression, it appears that one use of saffron is to help with anxiety symptoms. In studies, anxiety symptoms have been found to significantly improve with the administration of saffron.
In certain studies, saffron extracts have increased dopamine levels in the brain and glutamate concentrations. Based on what’s currently available in terms of saffron research, it seems that the spice can trigger the brain to produce important neurotransmitters, and that’s why it may have an antianxiety and antidepressant effect.
Saffron has a long history of being used as a libido booster or aphrodisiac.
A saffron supplement might help increase the libido of people taking prescription antidepressants.
In a study of men with erectile dysfunction related to saffron, 30 mg daily for four weeks helped symptoms and significantly improved their ED.
There was also an analysis of six studies showing saffron improved ED, libido, and sexual function.
In women taking antidepressants with low sexual desire, 30 mg of saffron for four weeks reduced sex-related pain and increased lubrication and sexual desire compared to a placebo.
Saffron can reduce your appetite and, as a result, help with weight loss.
There was a study of women eight weeks after taking a saffron supplement, and they felt more full, snacked less, and lost more weight than a placebo group.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure why saffron can help with appetite and weight loss but think it might be related to the fact that it can improve your mood, which then reduces the desire to snack.
In both test tube and animal studies, the antioxidant properties of saffron have been found to prevent the clogging of blood vessels and arteries, and saffron may also lower cholesterol levels.
Saffron might help with age-related macular degeneration symptoms and may lower blood sugar levels.
There’s also evidence that the antioxidant properties of saffron can help improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Final Thoughts—What is a Saffron Supplement Used For?
To sum up, what is a saffron supplement used for?
Saffron supplements have many benefits. Saffron supplements are used for improving mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. These supplements have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help boost libido in men and women. They can also be used for weight loss.