Traditional knowledge can be used as a source for development of new medicines. In the present study, we compare the data on saffron in Razi's Al-Hawi book with modern scientific studies. A computerized search of published articles was performed using MEDLINE, Scopus as well as native references. The search terms used were saffron, Crocus sativus, crocetin, crocin, safranal, Razi, and Al-Hawi. A variety of properties of saffron including diuretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, appetite suppressant, hypnotic, antidepressant, and bronchodilator effects were mentioned in Al-Hawi. Modern studies also confirmed most of these characteristics. This review indicates that the pharmacological data on saffron and its constituents are similar to those found in Razi's Al-Hawi monograph and it can be concluded that ethnobotanical information and ancient sources have precious data about medicinal plants that lead to finding new compounds for treatment of several diseases.
Keywords: Al-Hawi; Crocin; Crocus sativus L; Razi; Saffron; Safranal; Traditional medicine.