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Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Spice That's As Effective As Prozac (and How to Take it for Depression)

The vivid red spice known as saffron might be able to replace your Prozac, according to science and Traditional Persian Medicine, which uses saffron for the treatment of depression.

Photo credit: Zoyachubby
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  •  Saffron is just as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants... 
A review of six separate studies that included 230 clinically depressed patients concluded that saffron is just as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants, for some cases of mild to moderate depression.
In one study, 15 milligrams of saffron was given to patients twice a day.

The results, published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental Journal, showed that anti-depressent effects of taking saffron were comparable to those of the common prescription drug Prozac.

  •  Smelling the Spice Also Improves Anxiety in Women
An unrelated study found that just smelling saffron for 20 minutes provided women with relief from anxiety. Since anxiety and depression are almost synonymous with each other, that interesting finding may be useful to many. 

...So How Does Saffron Work as an Anti-Depressant?
While nobody's entirely certain how saffron works as an anti-depressant, it's believed that the power lies in the serotonergic, neuro-endocrine and neuroprotective effects of the the spice. In other words, saffron protects against neuro-degenerative disorders like depression.

The natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances found in saffron could also contribute to the spice's anti-depressant activity.

One of the authors of the original study, Dr. Lopresti, mentions that people with depression have high levels of inflammation and free-radical damage caused from oxidative stress.the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances found in the spice.

The two substances deemed responsible are "crocin," a natural anti-inflammatory, and the antioxidant "crocetin."

As inflammation and free-radical damage continue to be linked to depression, those who struggle with mild to moderate forms may be able to finally find some relief simply by using natural foods and substances that reduce the inflammation and free-radical damage.

Tips to Help You Combat Depression using Saffron:
Photo credit: Anne White

1. Whether you're using natural or prescription anti-depressants, it's usually recommended that you give them 6-8 weeks to begin taking effect. This rule of thumb applies to natural anti-depressants, too.

2. As a culinary spice, you can add a pinch of saffron shreds in dishes like soups, stews.

3. Alternatively, you may wish to take a saffron supplement for ease and convenience. Saffron supplements come in liquid extract or a pill-form.

So, will you be incorporating this powerful spice into your daily anti-depressant regimen? Or perhaps you're one step ahead of us and have already tried it? Let us know in the comments below.

If you're interested in trying saffron extract, you can receive $5 off your order by going here.

Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental (Lopresti & Drummond et al., Vol. 29; Issue 6; November 2014; Pages 517–52) 

Fukui H,; Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus). Phytomedicine. 2011 Jun 15;18(8-9):726-30.

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