This spice is so rare it takes 15,000 flowers to make 2.2 pounds of it. And in tests of ordinary spices bearing the spice’s name, 90% contained fillers. However, if you can find the authentic, real version of this medicine, you can use it to tame anxiety and depression.
What is this wonder flower?
Long known as a spice related to Indian foods, it also has its roots in Eastern medicine. In Chinese medicine, saffron is known as fan hong hua, and is prescribed for anxiety and depression as a calming agent.
The Western Medicine community took notice.
Saffron was then compared to imipramine (common name Tofranil) and fluoxetine. (Fluoxetine is the active ingredient in Prozac). Two randomized double blind trials were carried out over a period of 6 weeks with 30 subjects in the imipramine trial and 40 in the fluoxetine trial. In the imipramine study the subjects were given 100 mg. doses and in the other trial they were given 20 mg. daily. A significant improvement was noted again almost immediately after treatment with the saffron. There were no adverse side effects from those taking the saffron but in the subjects taking the drugs they noted sweating and dry mouth as common side effects.
Finding alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs has several benefits.
1) Cost- Some anti-depressant drugs will cost much more than an alternative like saffron. Even if saffron is $250 for 75 grams, if you look at the study above, you’ll note that they’re dosing at 100mg. It would take you roughly two years to consume the equivalent of 75 grams on that dosing schedule. Meanwhile, a 30 day supply for some anti-depressant meds can cost you $70. In four months, you’ll have spent $280.
2) Side effects- The side effects in the study above were sweating and dry mouth. And if you’ve noticed the commercials on television also advise you to call your doctor if you experience ‘bloody nose, vomiting, nausea, thoughts of suicide, rapid heart rate, kidney failure, liver failure….’ Some of the side effects seem worse than the symptom you’re trying to treat. Three separate studies noted no side effects.
3) Weaning- Some of the pharmaceuticals out there have horrible addictive properties. Once your body becomes normalized by drug treatment, it’s hard to get off them without experiencing some sort of withdrawal. Sure, this can happen with natural substances as well (think coffee), but it’s easier to taper off a natural herb/flower/root because you can control your dosage. The pharmaceuticals often have time-released capsules inside each capsule. It’s nearly impossible to cut your dosage when you’re trying to sort through a capsule like that. And they change your body chemistry to need the drug continuously to function normally. Herbs and spices often just help synthesis of nutrients.
If you’re experiencing depression, you could reach for a man-made medicine, created through billions of dollars being spent and now needing to be recaptured. Or you could reach for a spice fashioned in the depths of a flower, cloaked in purple and red, and harvested by hand.
The choice is yours… And as always, consult your doctor before switching regiments.