Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Crocus sativus

Family : Iridaceae

Synonym(s) : Crocus officinalis Hudson., Crocus orsinii.Parl.

English Name : Saffron, saffron cress

Origin : South Europe


A perennial herb with a solid, depressed, globular corm about an inch in diameter, giving off from its under surface several slender whitish roots, covered with a thin coating of several layers of fine longitudinal pale brown fibres, and producing on the top one or more buds. Leaves produced from the new bud, few, very closely placed, sessile, forming an erect tuft. Flowers 2 together, or solitary, appearing with the leaves and borne on a very short erect peduncle form a leaf axil, closely enveloped bya delicate membranous spathe which is bifid at the apex. Perianth very large, erect, monophyllous, regular, with a slender, delicate, cylindrical tube about 4 inches long and adherent to the ovary at the base, and 6 oblong-oval, blunt, concave segments, in two rows. The stamens 3, inserted in the mouth of the tube opposite the outer segments, anthers linear, longer than the filaments. Fruit not seen. Seeds numerous in each cell, sub-globose, with a fleshy testa and 6 small embryo in the axis of the fleshy endosperm.


Lawn and cultivated beds.

Parts Used : Flower

Herb Effects

Abortifacient, anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic, sedative, stimulant.

Active Ingredients

The glycosides, crocin and picocricin together with α- and β-carotene, lycopin, a crystalline hydrocarbon, safranal, myricetin, delphinidin, kaempferol, naphthalene, petunidin, pinene, quercetin, xanthophyll and zeaxanthin.

Medicinal Use

To treat chronic haemorrhages in the uterus of adults, to induce menstruation, treat period pains and calm indigestion, colic, in fevers, melancholia and enlargement of the liver. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas.


Infusion: Steep 6 to 10 stigmas in 1/2 cup water. Take 1/2 to 1 cup a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.
Tincture: 5 to 20 Minims.
Saffron tea (1 in 80), dose -1 to 4 ounces.


Do not use when pregnant; large doses is narcotic.


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  2. Assimopoulou, AN; VP Papageorgiou & Z Sinakos (2005), "Radical scavenging activity of Crocus sativus L. extract and its bioactive constituents", Phytotherapy Research 19 (11).
  3. Chang, PY; W, Liang, CT Kuo & CK Wang (1964), "The pharmacological action of (zà hóng huā—Crocus sativus L.): effect on the uterus and/or estrous cycle", Yao Hsueh Hsueh Pao 11.
  4. Davies, NW; MJ Gregory & RC Menary (2005), "Effect of drying temperature and air flow on the production and retention of secondary metabolites in saffron", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53 (15).
  5. Deo, B (2003), "Growing Saffron—The World's Most Expensive Spice", Crop & Food Research (New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research) (no. 20)
  6. Ferrence, SC (2004), "Therapy with saffron and the Goddess at Thera", Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 47 (2).
  7. Hasegawa, JH; SK Kurumboor & SC Nair (1995), "Saffron chemoprevention in biology and medicine: a review", Cancer Biotherapy 10 (4).
  8. Hayes, AW (2001), Principles and Methods of Toxicology, Taylor & Francis,
  9. Jessie, SW & TP Krishnakantha (2005), "Inhibition of human platelet aggregation and membrane lipid peroxidation by food spice, saffron", Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 278 (1–2).
  10. Nair, SC; B Pannikar & KR Panikkar (1991), "Antitumour activity of saffron (Crocus sativus).", Cancer Letters 57 (2).

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