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Since May 10th 2008

Initial C

Cassia senna

Centella asiatica
Chamomilla recutita
Cinnamomum verum
Coptis chinensis
Curcuma longa
Calendula officinalis
Cimicifuga racemosa
Crataegus monogyna
Carthamus tinctorius
Cephaelis ipecacuanha
Commiphora molmol
Commiphora mukul
Crocus sativus
Cordyceps sinensis
Cyperus rotundus



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Crocus sativus L. (Iridaceae)

Crocus offi cinalis Martyn

Local names
Açcfrão, azaferan, azafran, crocus, crocus hispanicus, crocus orientalis, dye saffron, Echter Safran, fan-hung-hua, Gewürzsafran, hay saffron, kamkana, kesar, keshara, koema-koema, kumkum, Safran, saffraon, saffron, saffron crocus, sáfrány, sapran, Spanish saffron, true saffron, szafran, szafrana, z’afaran, za afran l-hor, zaafaran, zafaran, zafarfon, zafferano, zang hong hua, zafrane hor

A perennial, low growing (8–30 cm high), bulbous herb with an underground globular corm, producing six to nine sessile leaves, surrounded in its lower part by four or fi ve broad membranous scales. Flowers borne on the terminal region of a scape, each flower consisting of a pale reddishpurple perianth showing a cylindrical tube about 10 cm long and six oblong oval segments, an androecium of three stamens and a gynoecium of three syncarpous carpels. Ovary inferior, three-locular. Style slender, elongated and pale yellow in the perianth tube, divided in its upper part into three drooping, deep-red stigmas

Plant material used
dried stigmas

Chemical assays
Colorimetric and spectrophotometric assays are used. Qualitative and quantitative high-performance liquid chromatography methods are available for picrocrocin, safranal and crocins

Major chemical constituents
The major constituents include essential oils (0.4–1.3%) with α- and ß-pinene, 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), a monoterpene glucoside, picrocrocin (4%), safranal, which can be obtained by hydrolysis of picrocrocin, and a series of carotenoid glucosides known as crocins (2%), dimethylcrocetin and their aglycone crocetin

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
None. Although Stigma Croci showed antioxidant effects in human studies, data from controlled clinical trials are lacking.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
As a tonic and antiarteriosclerotic, and as a sedative and emmenagogue

Uses described in traditional medicine
As an emmenagogue and for treatment of ammenorrhoea, abdominal pain, coughs, depression, digestive ailments, fever and pain due to wounds. Also as an aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant, diaphoretic, contraceptive, antispasmodic and nerve sedative

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Antiarteriosclerotic, Anticoagulant, Cell proliferation inhibition, Sedatives, Chemical carcinogenesis inhibition, Anti-Ocular hypertension, Anticancer, Nootropic effects

Human studies

Adverse reactions
The lethal dose of Stigma Croci is reported to be 20.0 g; however, smaller doses may cause vomiting, uterine bleeding, bloody diarrhoea, haematuria, bleeding from the nose, lips and eyelids, vertigo, numbness and yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes. Oral administration of 5.0 g resulted in localized skin haemorrhages, marked thrombocytopenia, and abnormalities of blood clotting in one patient.

Stigma Croci may induce uterine contractions and is therefore contraindicated during pregnancy. Owing to a lack of safety data, use of the stigmas in children and nursing mothers should be restricted to normal food use. Stigma Croci is contraindicated in bleeding disorders.

At doses of 5.0 g or more, Stigma Croci may cause serious adverse reactions (see Adverse reactions). Overdose of Stigma Croci (12.0–20.0 g/day) may be fatal

Drug interactions
Stigma Croci inhibits platelet aggregation and should therefore be used with caution in patients taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Ethyl acetate, methanol and aqueous extracts of Stigma Croci (concentrations not specified) were not mutagenic in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 with or without metabolic activation. Crocin and dimethylcrocetin,1.0 mg/plate, 2.0 mg/plate and 4.0 mg/plate, were not mutagenic in the Salmonella/ microsome assay using S. typhimurium strain TA 1535. A chloroform- methanol extract (2:1) of the stigmas, 100.0 mg/plate, was not mutagenic in pig kidney cells or in trophoblastic placenta cells.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Nursing mothers
See Contraindications.

Paediatric use
See Contraindications.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or on precautions concerning drug and laboratory test interactions; or teratogenic effects in pregnancy.

Dosage forms
Dried stigmas; extracts of dried stigmas. Store the dried stigmas in a tightly sealed metal or glass container, protected from light and moisture.

There is insufficient information available to give an accurate assessment of dose range. No risk is associated with consumption in standard food use quantities. The recommended therapeutic daily dose is 3.0– 9.0 g. However, owing to a report of toxicity at 5.0 g, doses below 5.0 g/day are recommended.


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