Chapter 1

Saffron: The Golden Spice

Maryam Akaberi, Zahra Boghrati, Mohammad Sadegh Amiri and Seyed Ahmad Emami


Saffron, as one of the most expensive spices in the world, is obtained from the stigma of Crocus sativus. Crocus sativus L. belongs to the Iridaceae family, and has been widely used as an herbal medicine, spice, food coloring, and a flavoring agent since ancient times. Saffron is one of the most famous plants cultivated in Iran, and this country now accounts for approximately 90% of the world production of saffron. Saffron has a long history in Islamic Traditional Medicine (ITM). It has been used for the treatment of several diseases such as urogenital, ocular, and respiratory disorders. Moreover, it has oxytocic, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. There are several studies on pharmacological activities of saffron in vitro, in vivo, and clinical trials which not only confirm the application of saffron in traditional medicine, but also introduce some new medicinal aspects. In this chapter, we aim to present a comprehensive review on traditional and ethnomedicinal uses of saffron in different systems of traditional medicine, especially ITM. Then, we will discuss pharmacological activities reported for saffron in modern medicine as in vitro, in vivo, and clinical trial studies. Finally, we will compare the properties reported for saffron in traditional medicine with the activities in modern medicine to reveal the potential of this valuable herb for treatment of various diseases.

Total Pages: 1-29 (29)

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