The spice Crocus sativus, also known as saffron, has been added to the Examine.com database. This expensive spice has several surprises up its sleeve, including a set of unique molecules and an ability to combat depression.
Saffron contains a group of molecules called carotenoids that are water soluble, but only in the context of saffron. Normally, carotenoids are fat soluble.
Repeated human trials have concluded that saffron is effective at treating depression, when taken at the standard dose (30mg a day for eight weeks). Its potency is comparable to several prescription drugs.
Research has yet to determine how exactly saffron achieves this effect. Preliminary evidence suggests it manipulates serotonin signalling, but the exact mechanism has yet to be pinpointed. Prudent supplementation is advised, because saffron can become toxic to the body if used improperly. Doubling the standard dose and time frame (60mg for sixteen weeks) can do damage to the body. Until there is more evidence for saffron’s effects and toxicity, care should be taken during supplementation.