Review on Pharmacological Active Saffron and Crocin

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Minoru Sugiura Kazuho Abe Hiroshi Saito Tomoe Ohta Takuhiro Uto Shiho Kito Kosuke Aritake Yukihiro Shoyama


Saffron has been used for medicinal, coloring, aroma and flavoring purposes for thousands of years. In recent years, research on the pharmacological activity of saffron has become increasingly active, with particular attention being paid to saffron's anti-cognitive activity. Saffron is known to contain a number of components, among which crocetin glycosides, i.e. crocin has been found to be the active substance. Anti-crocin monoclonal antibody having wide cross-reactivity was prepared and carried out immunostaining using PC-12 cells to confirm the uptake of crocin into the cells. Saffron extract and/or crocin ameliorated learning and memory performance inhibited by ethanol in mice. Long term potentiation blocked by ethanol shows recovery by the addition of saffron extract and/or crocin to mouse hippocampus tissues. Mice injected with crocin expressed non-rem sleeping even during an activating period. The clinical trial of saffron extract ameliorated symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients. A Chinese formula prescribed with saffron reversed brain vascular dementia. PC-12 cells were used to study the mechanism of cell death by apoptosis. Crocin showed strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Crocin decreased the level of ceramide by inhibition of sphingomyelinase activity and increased glutathione concentration resulting in inhibition of apoptosis. From these findings saffron and crocin can potentially be applied for treatment and prevention of dementia in patients.

Keywords: Crocus sativus, crocin, quality control, anti-cognitive activity, non-LEM sleeping

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SUGIURA, Minoru et al. Review on Pharmacological Active Saffron and Crocin. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 8, sep. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 oct. 2023. doi:
Review Articles


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