Crocus sativus a natural food coloring and flavoring has potent anti-tumor properties.
Phytomedicine. 2018 Apr 1 ;43:21-27. Epub 2018 Mar 19. PMID: 29747750
BACKGROUND: Saffron, the dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L., is a highly valued agricultural product that is used mainly as a food coloring and flavoring agent. Three main secondary metabolites of Crocus sativus including crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal are responsible for the color, the bitter taste and for the odor and aroma, respectively. As a component of traditional medicine, saffron has been utilized as a medicinal herb for treating various ailments including cramps, asthma, liver disease, menstruation disorders, pain, and in the pathogenesis of cancer.
HYPOTHESIS/PURPOSE: To summarize the recent published data on the chemo-preventive properties of Crocus sativus in cancer treatment.
STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a non-systematic review of the literature.
METHODS: A search of English-language literature was performed using Scopus, EMBASE and PubMed. We applied no restriction in time. Articles were searched using the keywords"Lung","breast","skin","prostate","leukemia","cancer","neoplasm","tumor","malignancy","saffron","crocus sativus","crocin","crocetin","picrocrocin", and"safranal".
RESULTS: Saffron has been reported to exert anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects in various types of cancer including lung cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, skin cancer and prostate cancer. This appears to be via various mechanisms including: the induction of apoptosis, arresting cell cycle progression, suppressing expression of matrix metalloproteinase, modulatory effects on some phase II detoxifying enzymes and decreasing expression of inflammatory molecules are potential mechanisms of saffron-induced anticancer effects.
CONCLUSION: Saffron possesses potent anti-tumor properties and represents an efficacious and safe treatment.