Potential of Crocus sativus (saffron) and its constituent, crocin, as hypolipidemic and antioxidant in rats

Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2010 Sep;162(2):358-72. doi: 10.1007/s12010-009-8740-7. Epub 2009 Aug 13.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the hypolipidemic and antioxidant potential of saffron and its active constituent, crocin, in hyperlipidemic rats. The animals fed either with normal fat diet or high fat diet were administered orally saffron (25, 50, and 100 mg/kg) or crocin (4.84, 9.69, and 19.38 mg/kg) in their respective groups for five consecutive days. Biochemical estimations of triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione peroxidase enzyme activity (GSHPx), total glutathione (GSH), and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in serum and superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS), ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP), and total sulfhydryl (SH) groups in liver tissue homogenate were carried out. Both saffron and crocin were effective in decreasing the elevated levels of TG, TC, ALP, AST, ALT, MDA, GSHPx, GSH, and GSSG in serum and increasing SOD, CAT, FRAP, and SH values in liver tissue with reduction in TBARS. The saffron was found to be superior to crocin indicating the involvement of other potential constituents of saffron apart from crocin for its synergistic behavior of quenching the free radicals and ameliorating the damages of hyperlipidemia.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use*
  • Crocus / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Carotenoids
  • crocin