Saffron: Nature's Mood Booster
Better Nutrition|August 2018

The world’s most expensive spice, saffron offers an array of health benefits, from reducing PMS symptoms to easing postpartum depression.

Vera Tweed

Saffron has been used medicinally for 4,000 years, to treat at least 90 different illnesses. But in supplements today, it’s become an evidence-based, natural mood booster that rivals pharmaceuticals without their side effects. “It’s known for its cheerfulness-promoting properties so it’s one of the happiest botanicals,” says Nick Bitz, ND, a naturopathic physician and expert in botanical medicine and Ayurveda. And research backs up the claim, in people of all ages.

Effective Antidepressant

Well-designed studies of depressed adults have compared saffron supplements with either a placebo or antidepressant drugs. When researchers at Jacksonville University in Florida analyzed the results, they found two things: Saffron was clearly more effective than a placebo, and it was just as effective as antidepressants—even for major depression— without adverse effects. Drugs used as comparisons included the Prozac variety and tricyclic antidepressants.

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