The benefits and medicinal properties of saffron make it a valuable culinary ingredient, not just in India but worldwide. Various health experts suggest that saffron can be used as an aphrodisiac, diaphoretic (to cause sweatin), carminative (to prevent gas) and to bring on mensuration. But did you know that this highly-priced spice could be a promising herbal alternative for treating people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as per a study conducted at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. ADHD is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence.
The study, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, showed that saffron, which has anti-depressant and memory-enhancing properties, can be as effective at controlling symptoms as methylphenidate, the commonly prescribed drug Ritalin for treating ADHD.
Saffron, also used in various Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines, could be particularly effective for the 30 percent of patients who do not respond to or cannot tolerate stimulants like methylphenidate, which causes side effects like nausea, stomach pain, decreased appetite, insomnia, and headache.
For the study, researchers included 54 ADHD patients aged six to 17 years and compared the effects of saffron or methylphenidate over a six-week period. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either 20-30 mg/d methylphenidate or 20-30 mg/d saffron capsules depending on weight.
Previous studies have shown that one-to-one support and a focus on self-regulation may improve academic outcomes of children with ADHD. In addition, a computerised test of attention and activity to standard care can reduce the time needed to make a diagnostic decision on the disorder.
Other Health Benefits Of Saffron:
- Protects Against Cold: Saffron is a stimulant tonic and very effective to treat cold and fever; saffron mixed in milk and applied over the forehead quickly relieves cold.
- Food Additives: Saffron is an excellent replacement for synthetic food additives- for eg: instead of FD and C yellow no 5: a synthetic food coloring agent that is a very common allergy trigger, Saffron's glorious yellow could be an acceptable hypoallergenic choice.
- Promotes Learning And Memory Retention: Recent studies have also demonstrated that saffron extract, specifically its crocin, is useful in the treatment of age related mental impairment. In Japan, saffron is encapsulated and used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, memory loss and inflammation.
- In Delayed Puberty: In under developed girls, saffron has an overall stimulant effect. A pinch of saffron crushed in a table spoon of milk is useful to stimulate hormones and bring about desired effect.