Science of Spices and Culinary Herbs - Latest Laboratory, Pre-clinical, and Clinical Studies

Volume: 1

The Effect of Crocus Sativus (Saffron) on the Respiratory System: Traditional and Experimental Evidence

Author(s): Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, Zahra Gholamnezhad, Vahideh Ghorani and Saeideh Saadat

Pp: 30-54 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681087511119010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Saffron (Crocus sativus L. (C. sativus)), is a medicinal plant which is cultivated in some parts of the world including Iran. The main part of the plant used for medical purposes and as a food additive is its stigma. The most important constituents of the plant are safranal, crocin, and crocetin. In this chapter, traditional and experimental evidence regarding the effects of saffron and its constituents on respiratory disorders are reviewed.

To obtain related evidence, literature available in Google Scholar, PubMed and ScienceDirect databases were searched for articles published in English until the end of April 2018. In addition, traditional medical sources that discussed the effect of the plant on respiratory diseases, were also used.

In traditional medicine, saffron has been used not only for treatment of several diseases but also for improvement of respiratory function, treatment of asthma.

Experimental studies showed the relaxant effects of the plant and its constituents on tracheal smooth muscle and their possible underlying mechanisms. These results indicate the possible bronchodilatory potential of saffron and its constituents on obstructive pulmonary diseases. The effect of saffron and its constituents on lung inflammation, lung pathological changes and tracheal responsiveness to methacholine and ovalbumin as well as its influence on Th1/Th2 cytokines in animal models of asthma, were also demonstrated. These results indicated the preventive effects of this plant and its constituents on respiratory diseases. In addition, antitussive effect of saffron and its constituents was also shown.

Both traditional and experimental evidence indicate the possible therapeutic effect of saffron and its constituents on respiratory disorders. However, more clinical investigations are needed before introduction of this plant and its constituents as treatments of respiratory disorders.

Keywords: Bronchodilator, Crocus sativus, Crocin, Crocetin, Experimental Effects, Lung Inflammation, Pulmonary Diseases, Respiratory Diseases, Saffron, Safranal, Traditional Medicine.

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