Science of Spices and Culinary Herbs - Latest Laboratory, Pre-clinical, and Clinical Studies

Science of Spices and Culinary Herbs - Latest Laboratory, Pre-clinical, and Clinical Studies

Many herbs and spices, in addition to their culinary use for taste, contain chemical compounds which have medicinal uses. For this reason, herbs and spices have been used for treating various ...
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Saffron: The Golden Spice

Pp. 1-29 (29)

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords:

Crocus sativus, Iridaceae, Islamic Traditional Medicine, Saffron.

Affiliation:

Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.