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Saffron positive effect on cancer and in prevention of cancer

For many years I am using several Amanprana products. My all-time favorites are Kotobuki Matcha, Gula Java Cacao, Gula Java Safran, Coconut Oil, Botanico Mix and Razoli.

Marco Zielinski, Geschäftsführer, Rhino's energy GmbH, Germany

Recent studies suggest that saffron can have a clinical application for the treatment of cancer. Cancer is growing throughout the world. The investigation and use of botanic extracts is one of the major developments in the prevention and treatment of cancer (1)(2).

Recent scientific research, both in vitro and in vivo, suggests that the major active components of saffron can help check the growth of cancer cells and the creation of tumours (carcinogenesis and tumourgenesis) (3)(4)(5)(6). Studies further show that saffron can reduce the serious negative side effects of the cancer medicine Platinol (Cisplatine) (7)(8). The anti-cancer properties of saffron have led to an extensive study of saffron and its components, including safranal and crocin, as a promising means of preventing cancer.

The action of saffron on cancer may be connected with the proven antioxidative effect of saffron (9)(10)(11). A study in which 50mg saffron dissolved in 100ml milk was drunk twice a day, resulted in a significant decline in lipoprotein oxidation in people with a coronary heart disease (CAD) and proves the potential of saffron as an antioxidant (12).  The active components of saffron, which include carotenoids such as crocin, can be useful in checking the growth of cancer cells (13)(14)(15). 
A study from October 2011 suggests that crocetin in saffron considerably improves the cytotoxicity caused by vincristine in cervical, non-small cell lung, ovary and breast cancer cells (16).

Another study describes the use of saffron in a liposomal form on cytotoxic increased HeLa and MCF-7 cells (17).  Yet another study from 2011 concludes that "saffron does indeed have a significant chemopreventive effect on liver cancer by checking cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis (18). Another study from 2011 states that crocetin has an influence on the growth of cancer cells by checking the synthesis of nucleic acid, the improvement of the antioxidative system and by stimulating apoptosis and obstructing the growth factor (19). Studies tell us that in the future saffron can be seen as a promising chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of lung cancer (20). A study from October 2010 came to a similar conclusion: "The saffron extract has pro-apoptotic effects in lung cancer and can be seen as a potential chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of lung cancer (21). Crocetino checks invasive breast cancer cells through a downward regulation of the matrix metalloproteinases (22). Other documents suggest the possible use of saffron in the treatment of pancreatic cancer and leukaemia (23)(24)(25).

The use of saffron in the prevention and treatment of cancer

The use of saffron in the prevention and treatment of cancer


  1. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/nl. Accessed April 22, 2013.
  2. Available at: http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/DocServer/E81-TLPW.pdf?docID=1861. Accessed April 22, 2013.
  3. Escribano J, Alonso GL, Coca-Prados M, Fernandez JA. Crocin, safranal and picrocrocin from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in vitro. Cancer Lett. 1996;100(1-2):22-30.
  4. Chryssanthi DG, Lamari FN, Iatrou G, Pylara A, Karamanos NK, Cordopatis P. Inhibition of breast cancer cell proliferation by style constituents of different Crocus species. Anticancer Res. 2007;27(1A):357-62.
  5.  Abdullaev JF, Caballero-Ortega H, Riverón-Negrete L, et al. In vitro evaluation of the chemopreventive potential of saffron. Rev Invest Clin. 2002;54(5):430-6.
  6. Abdullaev FI. Cancer chemopreventive and tumoricidal properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Exp Biol Med. 2002;227:20-5.
  7. Nair SC, Salomi MJ, Pannikar. B, Pannikar KR. Modulatory effects of the extracts of saffron and Nigela sativa against cisplatinum induced toxicity in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991;31:75-83.
  8. el Daly ES. Protective effect of cysteine and vitamin E, Crocus sativus and Nigella sativa extracts on cisplatin-induced toxicity in rats. J Pharm Belg. 1998 Mar-Apr;53(2):87-93; discussion 93-5.
  9. Hosseinzadeh H, Sadeghnia HR. Safranal, a constituent of Crocus sativus (saffron), attenuated cerebral ischemia induced oxidative damage in rat hippocampus. Jour Pharm Pharmaceut Sci. 2005;8(3):394-9.
  10. Assimopoulou AN, Sinakos Z, Papageorgiou VP. Radical scavenging activity of Crocus sativus L. extract and its bioactive constituents. Phytother Res. 2005 Nov;19(11):997-1000.
  11. Papandreou MA, Tsachaki M, Efthimiopoulos S, Cordopatis P, Lamari FN, Margarity M. Memory enhancing effects of saffron in aged mice are correlated with antioxidant protection. Behav Brain Res. 2011 Jun 1;219(2):197-204.
  12. Verma SK, Bordia A. Antioxidant property of saffron in man. Indian J Med Sci. 1998;52:205–7.
  13. Tarantilis PA, et al., Inhibition of growth and induction of differentiation of         promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) by carotenoids from Crocus sativus, Anticancer Research 1994; 14(5A): 1913–1918.
  14. Garcia-Olmo DC, Effects of long-term treatment of colon adenocarcinoma with crocin, a carotenoid from saffron (Crocus sativus): an experimental study in the rat, Nutrition and Cancer 1999; 35(2): 120–126.
  15.  Abdullaev-Jafarova F and Espinosa-Aguirre JJ, Biomedical properties of saffron and its potential use in cancer therapy and chemoprevention trials, Cancer Detection and Prevention 2004; 28(6): 430–436.
  16. Zhong YJ, Shi F, Zheng XL, et al. Crocetin induces cytotoxicity and enhances vincristine-induced cancer cell death via p53-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2011;32(12):1529-1536.
  17. Mousavi SH, Moallem SA, Mehri S, Shahsavand S, Nassirli H, Malaekeh-Nikouei B. Improvement of cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of crocin in cancer cell lines by its nanoliposomal form. Pharm Biol. 2011;49(10):1039-1045.
  18. Amin A, Hamza AA, Bajbouj K, Ashraf SS, Daoud S. Saffron: A potential candidate for a novel anticancer drug against hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2011;54(3):857-867.
  19. Gutheil WG, Reed G, Ray A, Dhar A. Crocetin: an agent derived from saffron for prevention and therapy for cancer. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2012 Jan;13(1):173-179.
  20. Samarghandian S, Tavakkol Afshari J, Davoodi S. Suppression of pulmonary tumor promotion and induction of apoptosis by Crocus sativus L. extraction. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2011;164(2):238-247.
  21. Samarghandian S, Boskabady MH, Davoodi S. Use of in vitro assays to assess the potential antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) in human lung cancer cell line. Pharmacogn Mag. 2010;6(24):309-314.
  22. Chryssanthi DG, Dedes PG, Karamanos NK, Cordopatis P, Lamari FN. Crocetin inhibits invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells via downregulation of matrix metalloproteinases. Planta Med. 2011;77(2):146-151.
  23. Bakshi H, Sam S, Rozati R, et al. DNA fragmentation and cell cycle arrest: a hallmark of apoptosis induced by crocin from kashmiri saffron in a human pancreatic cancer cell line. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2010;11(3):675-679.
  24. Dhar A, Mehta S, Dhar G, et al. Crocetin inhibits pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression in a xenograft mouse model. Mol Cancer Ther. 2009;8(2):315-323.
  25. Bakshi HA, Sam S, Feroz A, Ravesh Z, Shah GA, Sharma M. Crocin from Kashmiri saffron (Crocus sativus) induces in vitro and in vivo xenograft growth inhibition of Dalton's lymphoma (DLA) in mice. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):887-890.
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