Saffron extract: the sunshine spice

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Saffron is nicknamed the “sunshine spice”, that’s not just due to its distinct colour, but also because it can help brighten your mood. In a review of five studies, saffron supplements were significantly more effective than placebos at treating symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression.

Studies show that saffron may help treat PMS symptoms. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term that describes physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms occurring before the start of a menstrual period. In women 20–45 years of age, taking 30 mg of saffron daily was more effective than a placebo at treating PMS symptoms, such as irritability, headaches, cravings, and pain.

Saffron extract is derived from the saffron spice, which is harvested from the Crocus sativus flower. It has long been studied for its effects on mood and various health benefits. Research suggests that saffron extract may have a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being, more studies are being undertaken to fully understand its mechanisms and benefits.

The benefits of saffron extract for mood and emotional well being
  1. Antidepressant Effects: Several studies have investigated the potential antidepressant effects of saffron extract. Saffron contains compounds like safranal, crocin, and crocetin, which may help regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that play a role in mood regulation. Some research suggests that saffron extract may have a comparable effect to certain antidepressant medications in improving mood.
  2. Anxiolytic Effects: Saffron extract might also have anxiolytic properties, meaning it could help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Studies in animals and humans have suggested that saffron supplementation may lead to a decrease in anxiety symptoms.
  3. Improved Emotional Well-being: Saffron extract may contribute to a more positive emotional state and overall well-being. Some research indicates that saffron supplementation might improve feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
  4. Regulation of Neurotransmitters: Saffron extract could potentially modulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are closely linked to mood regulation. By influencing these neurotransmitters, saffron extract may help improve mood and emotional balance.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation has been linked to mood disorders such as depression. Saffron contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which could indirectly contribute to improved mood by reducing inflammation in the body.
  6. Oxidative Stress Reduction: Saffron extract is rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with various health conditions, including mood disorders. By reducing oxidative stress, saffron extract might indirectly support better mood regulation.
  7. Enhanced Brain Health: Some studies suggest that saffron extract may have neuroprotective effects, potentially helping to preserve brain health and cognitive function. Maintaining good brain health is crucial for overall mood and emotional well-being.
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