Background: Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) has a long history of use as a food additive and a
traditional medicine for treating a number of disorders. Prominent bioactives of saffron are crocin, crocetin
Objective: The aim of this study was to carry out an extensive patent search to collect information on
saffron bioactives and their derivatives as therapeutic and cosmeceutical agents. All patents related to
the area of interest published globally till date have been reviewed. Moreover, a recent synthetic biology
approach to cost effective and consistent production of saffron bioactives has been highlighted.
Methods: A patent search strategy was designed based on keywords and concepts related to Crocus
sativus L. and its bioactives- safranal, crocin and crocetin in combination with different patent classification
codes relevant to the technology areas. This search strategy was employed to retrieve patents
from various patent databases. The patents which focused on therapeutic or cosmetic applications and
claimed compositions comprising crocin, crocetin or safranal as the main active component were selected
Results: Maximum patenting activity was noticed towards the use of these bioactives in the treatment of
neurological disorders followed by multiple uses of the same compound, use in treatment of metabolic
disorders and use as cosmeceuticals. Interestingly, there were no patent records related to use of these
bioactives in treating infectious disorders.
Conclusion: Our patent analysis points out the populous and less explored uses of saffron bioactives
and areas where there is further scope for research and growth. Recently developed synthetic biology
approach is contributory in improving availability, consistency and cost effectiveness of saffron bioactives.