An evaluation of the effects of saffron supplementation on the asthma clinical symptoms and asthma severity in patients with mild and moderate persistent allergic asthma: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial

Respir Res. 2019 Feb 22;20(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s12931-019-0998-x.


Background: Asthma is a heterogeneous disease which is usually associated with chronic airway inflammation. Saffron has anti-inflammatory effects and may has beneficial effects on asthma.

Hypothesis: The present study was intended to survey the effects of saffron supplementation on blood pressure, lipid profiles, basophils, eosinophils and clinical symptoms in patients with allergic asthma.

Study design: Our study was a clinical trial.

Methods: Subjects (N = 80, 32 women and 48 men, 41.25 ± 9.87 years old) with mild and moderate allergic asthma were randomized into two groups: the intervention group who received two capsules of saffron (100 mg/d), and the control group who received two capsules of placebo for 8 weeks. SPSS software (version 16.0) was used for the data analysis.

Results: Saffron improved the frequency of clinical symptoms of the patients (i.e., frequency of the shortness of breath during the day and night time, use of salbutamol spray, waking up due to asthma symptoms and activity limitation) in comparison to the placebo (p < 0.001). Besides, asthma severity decreased almost significantly in the saffron group (p = 0.07). It was also found that saffron, in comparison with the placebo, significantly reduced the systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides and low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Moreover, eosinophils and basophils concentration reduced in the saffron group (p = 0.06 and 0.05 respectively).

Conclusion: Saffron seems to be an effective and safe option (in 8 weeks supplementation) to improve clinical symptoms of patients with allergic asthma but the toxicity and/or long-term effects of saffron intake are not known. Registration ID in IRCT (IRCT2017012132081N2).

Keywords: Allergic asthma; Asthma severity; Saffron.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Capsules
  • Crocus*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Young Adult


  • Capsules
  • Plant Extracts