Safety evaluation of saffron stigma (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract and crocin in patients with schizophrenia

Avicenna J Phytomed. Sep-Oct 2015;5(5):413-9.


Objectives: Saffron is the stigma of Crocus sativus L., which has the potentials to play a role in the treatment of many diseases. Although many researches are now going on this precious spice, there are few data on saffron safety in human, especially in patients with chronic mental illnesses. This study aimed to evaluate the short-term safety and tolerability of both saffron and crocin (its major constituent) in adult patients with schizophrenia.

Materials and methods: The capsules of saffron aqueous extract (SAE) and crocin were used to evaluate short-term safety and tolerability in patients with schizophrenia. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed on patients with schizophrenia. The patients were all male and were divided into three 22-patient groups. While receiving their normal treatment, they also received a 12 week treatment with SAE (15 mg twice daily), crocin (15 mg twice daily) or placebo.

Results: A total of 61 patients completed the trial; none of them reported a serious side effect. WBC count increased significantly in patients receiving saffron aqua extract (SAE), but it was within the normal range and had no clinical significance. Other hematologic components, markers of thyroid, liver and kidney or inflammation markers had no statistically significant difference among the groups.

Conclusion: This study showed that SAE and crocin in doses of 15 mg twice daily were safely tolerated in patients with schizophrenia.

Keywords: Clinical trial; Crocin; Safety assessment; Saffron Aqueous Extract; Schizophrenia.