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Review of A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials Examining the Effectiveness of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on Psychological and Behavioral Outcomes (including weight loss, depression, PMS, sexual dysfunction)


This systematic review focuses on the therapeutic or preventive potential of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for various health conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Saffron has been recognized for improving a wide range of health-related outcomes, from physiological to psychological. The review aims to categorize the current state of scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of saffron on psychological and behavioral outcomes based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).


A comprehensive search strategy was designed to identify all relevant human clinical research on saffron, adhering to the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)” guidelines. The search included electronic and non-electronic systematic searches to gather studies that explored the effects of saffron on psychological/behavioral outcomes.


Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria, examining saffron’s effects on major depressive disorder (6 studies), premenstrual syndrome (1 study), sexual dysfunction and infertility (4 studies), and weight loss/snacking behaviors (1 study). The findings support saffron’s efficacy in improving depressive symptoms, premenstrual symptoms, sexual function, and satiety.


Initial clinical trials suggest that saffron can positively affect symptoms and effects of depression, premenstrual syndrome, sexual dysfunction and infertility, and excessive snacking behaviors. However, larger multi-site clinical trials are needed to further validate these preliminary findings.


Heather Ann Hausenblas, Ph.D.,Kacey Heekin, Heather Lee Mutchie, and Stephen Anton, Ph.D


Journal of Integrated Medicine, 2015 Jul; 13(4): 231–240.