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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2002 Jan;227(1):20-5.

Cancer chemopreventive and tumoricidal properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.).

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Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, National Institute of Pediatrics, Mexico City 04530, Mexico.


Since cancer is the most common cause of death in the world population, the possibility that readily available natural substances from plants, vegetables, herbs, and spices may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer warrants closer examination. Saffron in filaments is the dried, dark red stigmata of Crocus sativus L. flowers and it is used as a spice, food colorant, and a drug in medicine. A growing body of research has demonstrated that saffron extract itself and its main constituents, the carotenoids, possess chemopreventive properties against cancer. This review discusses recent literature data and our results on the cancer chemopreventive activities of saffron and its main ingredients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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