The Effect of Crocus Sativus (Saffron) on the Respiratory System: Traditional and Experimental Evidence
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Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, Zahra Gholamnezhad, Vahideh Ghorani and Saeideh Saadat
Saffron (Crocus sativus L. (C. sativus)), is a medicinal plant which is
cultivated in some parts of the world including Iran. The main part of the plant used for
medical purposes and as a food additive is its stigma. The most important constituents
of the plant are safranal, crocin, and crocetin. In this chapter, traditional and
experimental evidence regarding the effects of saffron and its constituents on
respiratory disorders are reviewed.
To obtain related evidence, literature available in Google Scholar, PubMed and
ScienceDirect databases were searched for articles published in English until the end of
April 2018. In addition, traditional medical sources that discussed the effect of the plant
on respiratory diseases, were also used.
In traditional medicine, saffron has been used not only for treatment of several diseases
but also for improvement of respiratory function, treatment of asthma.
Experimental studies showed the relaxant effects of the plant and its constituents on
tracheal smooth muscle and their possible underlying mechanisms. These results
indicate the possible bronchodilatory potential of saffron and its constituents on
obstructive pulmonary diseases. The effect of saffron and its constituents on lung
inflammation, lung pathological changes and tracheal responsiveness to methacholine
and ovalbumin as well as its influence on Th1/Th2 cytokines in animal models of
asthma, were also demonstrated. These results indicated the preventive effects of this
plant and its constituents on respiratory diseases. In addition, antitussive effect of
saffron and its constituents was also shown.
Both traditional and experimental evidence indicate the possible therapeutic effect of
saffron and its constituents on respiratory disorders. However, more clinical
investigations are needed before introduction of this plant and its constituents as
treatments of respiratory disorders.
Bronchodilator, Crocus sativus, Crocin, Crocetin, Experimental
Effects, Lung Inflammation, Pulmonary Diseases, Respiratory Diseases, Saffron,
Safranal, Traditional Medicine.
Neurogenic Inflammation Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.