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Phytother Res. 2018 Dec;32(12):2364-2375. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6181. Epub 2018 Aug 22.

Phytotherapic use of the Crocus sativus L. (Saffron) and its potential applications: A brief overview.

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Department of Pharmacy, G. d'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.


Crocus sativus L. (Saffron) has long been known for multiple target therapeutic uses. The plant metabolism is well investigated and the main metabolites related to saffron organoleptic qualities are crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin, and safranal. Particularly, the most abundant of them, such as crocin and safranal, are investigated for their multiple biological activities and known as potential drugs. We aimed to review the constituent features of the plant, along with its potential therapeutic effects in depression, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, cancer, and sexual dysfunction. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Medline, Scopus, and EMBASE, with particular attention to preclinical and clinical studies. Although saffron and its components showed potential clinical applications, further investigations are necessary to confirm the effective use of "Red Gold" and its real applications in clinical practice.


Alzheimer; atherosclerosis; cancer; depression; saffron; sexual dysfunction

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