1. May Reduce Cancer Risk
Saffron is rich in two major carotenoids, namely crocin, and crocetin. Preclinical evidence demonstrates that certain carotenoids may have potent antitumor effects.
Literature data indicate that saffron could be used as a potential cancer chemopreventive agent. Even though some of the data looks convincing, more well-designed clinical trials in humans are warranted to ascertain the anticancer effects of saffron.
Saffron and its components have also been suggested as promising candidates for cancer prevention. Crocin, one of its compounds, was found to have high potency as a chemotherapeutic agent.
2. May Help Fight Inflammation And Arthritis
An Italian study states that the crocetin in saffron promotes cerebral oxygenation in rats and positively acts in arthritis treatment. This effect could most likely be attributed to its antioxidant activity. However, these results have been obtained only in vitro or on laboratory animals and not yet on humans.
3. May Boost Vision Health and Eye Sight
In rat studies, safranal, a constituent of saffron, was found to delay retinal degeneration. The compound could also reduce rod and cone photoreceptor loss. These properties make safranal potentially useful for delaying retinal degeneration in retinal pathologies.
4. May Help In Insomnia Treatment
In rat studies, the crocin in saffron was found to boost non-rapid eye movement sleep. Crocetin, the other carotenoid in saffron, could also increase the total time of non-REM sleep by as much as 50% (9).
Other clinical trials also indicate that saffron supplementation could help improve symptoms of depression in adults dealing with major depressive disorder.
5. May Promote Brain Health
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of saffron extracts could imply its therapeutic potential for various issues of the nervous system. The spice interacts with the cholinergic and dopaminergic systems, which may have beneficial effects in the case of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
6. May Promote Digestive Health
Most animal studies show saffron to exhibit antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hyperlipidemic effects in treating gastrointestinal disorders.
7. May Heal Burn Wounds
One rat study links the possible wound healing properties of saffron to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Saffron could significantly increase re-epithelialization in burn wounds, as compared to cream-treated wounds.
8. May Enhance Immunity
Saffron is rich in carotenoids that seem to impact immunity. A study done on healthy men showed that daily use of saffron (about 100 mg) could have temporary immunomodulatory effects without any adverse reactions.
9. May Offer Relief From Menstrual Symptoms
A herbal drug containing saffron was found to offer relief to women with primary dysmenorrhea. The study concluded by stating the need for more clinical trials to determine the efficacy of the herbal drug.
10. May Improve Heart Health
Saffron helps reduce the risk of heart disease by strengthening the circulatory system. The spice is rich in thiamin and riboflavin, and these promote a healthy heart and help prevent various cardiac issues.
Due to its antioxidant properties, saffron helps maintain healthy arteries and blood vessels. The spice’s anti-inflammatory properties also benefit the heart. The crocetin in the spice indirectly regulates blood cholesterol levels and reduces the severity of atherosclerosis.
11. May Protect Skin From UV Radiation
Studies suggest that saffron could be used as a natural UV-absorbing agent. It contains flavonoid compounds like kaempherol and quercetin, which could be contributing in this regard.
Saffron’s photoprotective effects may also be due to its other phenolic compounds, such as tannic, gallic, caffeic, and ferulic acids. A few of these compounds are used as active ingredients in various sunscreens and skin lotions.
12. May Enhance Complexion
We do not recommend the use of any ingredient with the sole purpose of whitening one’s skin. But saffron has shown certain complexion promotion effects.