Saffron Revisited – PMS & Depression

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 5, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

In follow up to a post we did just last week on the healing virtues of Saffron, this spice has interestingly been receiving recent attention within the medical community for PMS and depression.

A study was done assessing its potential for relieving the symptoms of PMS – another timely topic, as one of our fans recently had a question about this. In the study, 50 women with PMS were given capsules containing the equivalent of 30 mg of saffron (the equivalent of a “micropinch,” according to the description of the researchers). Over three-quarters of the women reported a decline in their PMS symptoms by at least half. In the placebo group, only 8 percent of women reported this.

The same researcher Shahin Akhondzadeh, Ph.D., in previous studies, found that Saffron had antidepressant effects comparable to common antidepressants such as Prozac and Tofranil. According to Dr. Akhondzadeh, its mechanism of action is the same as Prozac, in that it helps serotonin to become more available to the brain.

Used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood lifter, either steeped into a tea or used in cooking, it’s also great for helping to improve your vision. Try including Saffron in your cooking, or make it into a tea to help alleviate PMS and depression. Its lush, reddish-orange hue is uplifting in itself!

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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