Saffron, known as the costliest spice in the world, is derived from the crocus flower (Crocus sativus) originally from Southeast Asia. It takes 75,000 flowers to produce just a single pound of the spice.
Two analyses published this year looked at six different studies and confirmed that saffron is an effective alternative treatment for depression. This may be especially good news as much of the American population moves toward retirement age.
According to NIH the incidence of depression can rise around retirement age. One 8-year study showed that “the presence of active depression significantly increased the hazard of retirement in both late middle-aged men … and women,” but that “despite the wide availability of effective and cost-effective treatments for depression, there is poor penetration of adequate treatment to those likely to reap its benefits.”
In other words, the number of cases of depression increases, but that depression often goes untreated. One of the reasons people resist treatment is the unwillingness to take anti-depressants that may have serious side effects.
But, recent studies have revealed that saffron may be just as effective as antidepressants.
Untreated depression is far more costly than any treatment. NIH reports that depression in the United States is associated with the loss of tens of billions of dollars each year.
One analysis authored by Lopresti and Drummond, found that saffron had large treatment effects when compared to placebos.
A second analysis from the University of Florida, confirmed the effectiveness: “A large effect size was found for saffron supplementation vs placebo control in treating depressive symptoms….”
In both analyses, no difference was found between the effectiveness of saffron and the effectiveness of the antidepressants that were studied.
But, if saffron is so expensive, can you afford it?
Yes, because very small doses of saffron are effective in treating depression.
According to Examiner.com, Lopresti’s analysis maintained that just 15mg of saffron taken twice a day was effective. Two grams, enough for 60 days at this dosage, sells for as little as $13 at popular online retailers.