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affron® a novel saffron extract (Crocus sativus L.) improves mood in healthy adults over 4 weeks in a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial

AuthorsKell, Graham; Rao, Amanda; Beccaria, Gavin; Clayton, Paul; Inarejos-García, Antonio M.; Prodanov, M.
Saffron extract
Clinical trial
Mood disorders
Issue Date2017
CitationComplementary Therapies in Medicine 33: 58-64 (2017)
Abstract[Background]: In recent years phytotherapy has been explored as a source for alternative treatments for mood disorders. One potential candidate is saffron (Crocus sativus L.), whose main bioactive components are crocins and safranal. [Objectives]: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of affron, a standardised stigmas extract from Crocus sativus L. for improving mood, stress, anxiety and sleep quality in healthy adults. [Methods]: In this 3 arm study, 128 participants self-reporting low mood but not diagnosed with depression, were given affron at 28 mg/day, 22 mg/day, or a placebo treatment in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for 4 weeks. Mood was measured at baseline and at the end of the study, using the POMS (primary outcome measure) and PANAS questionnaires, and the DASS-21 scale. Sleep was monitored using Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). [Results]: Analysis indicated a significant decrease in negative mood and symptoms related to stress and anxiety at a 28 mg/day dose (with a significant difference between 28 mg/day and placebo on the POMS Total Mood Disturbance scale, p < 0.001, d = −1.10), but no treatment effect at the 22 mg/day dose. [Limitations]: The main weaknesses of this investigation were found in the self-reporting nature of both the screening and the testing. [Conclusions]: affron increased mood, reduced anxiety and managed stress without side effects, offering a natural alternative to standard treatments.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.06.001
e-issn: 1873-6963
issn: 0965-2299
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