Further examination of antiradical properties of Crocus sativus stigmas extract rich in crocins

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Apr 22;57(8):3080-6. doi: 10.1021/jf804041g.


Data for antiradical properties of saffron extract and its bioactive constituents (crocins, crocetin) are limited and poorly discussed in comparison with those of extracts containing potent scavengers. Further examination was sought using the Folin-Ciocalteu (F-C) reagent and various free radical species produced in cell-free or cell model systems. Oregano and turmeric methanol extracts, rich in well established scavengers, and also crocetin, rosmarinic acid, and curcumin, representing the major types of constituents in the three studied extracts, were used as "reference". On the same weight basis, saffron extract activity was found to be rather negligible in all cell-free systems with regard to that found for reference ones. On the contrary, in the human monocyte system, saffron extracts or free crocetin were found to reduce ROS production as effectively as the phenolic antioxidants. Our findings point out that saffron extracts exhibit a remarkable intracellular antioxidant activity that cannot be revealed using assays repeatedly applied to the evaluation of phenolic-type antioxidants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Carotenoids / isolation & purification
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology
  • Crocus / chemistry*
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • trans-sodium crocetinate
  • Vitamin A
  • Carotenoids
  • crocin