Feb 12, 2014
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Family ► Iridaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated in Kashmir up to 2,000 m and in Chaubattia in Uttar Pradesh.

English ► Saffron, Crocus.

Ayurvedic ► Kumkuma, Rudhira, Vadrika, Kaashmira, Kaashmiraka, Vaalhika, Agnishikhaa, Ghrusrrn, Rakta, Kshataja. Keshara (usually Keshara indicates Naagakeshara, Mesuaferrea Linn.)

Unani ► Zaafraan.

Siddha/Tamil ► Kumgumappoo (dried stigma).

Action ► Stigma and style—nervine tonic, sedative, antispasmodic expectorant (in dry cough, whooping cough, bronchitis), stomachic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicated the use of the stigma and style in migraine, chronic sinusitis, and in urinary obstruction, inflammation of the urinary tract.

The saffron is used in Chinese medicine for melancholia, depression, shock and menstrual disorders.

Saffron contains a volatile oil composed of terpenes, terpene alcohols and esters. The herb also contains crocin, picrocrocin, crocetin, carotenoids and riboflavin and thiamine.

Preliminary evidence suggests that crocetin may improved atherosclerosis by increasing plasma oxygen diffusion and decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In addition, cro- cetin binds to albumin, potentially increasing oxygen diffusion and improving atherosclerosis. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

The stigma showed remarkable inhibitory effect on blood coagulation due to the presence of platelet aggregation inhibitor containing adenosine. It accelerated in vitro fibrinolytic activity of urokinase and plasmin.

Small amounts of Saffron stimulate gastric secretion; larger amounts stimulate uterine smooth muscle and exhibit emmenagogue and abortifacient effects.

Saffron extract showed cytotoxic and antimutagenic activity and antitu- mour activity against ascites tumours in mice. Chemical analysis indicated that the naturally occurring crocin may be the active principle responsible for the observed anticancer activity.

A xanthone, carotenoid glycosidic conjugate, mangi-crocin, isolated from saffron, showed significant adapto- genic activity. A natural antioxidant, isolated from saffron stem callus, showed better antioxidant activity than vitamin E. Saffron bulbs are toxic, stigmas in overdoses narcotic.

The dose of stigma and styles at 1.55.0 g is toxic. (Recommended dose : 0.5-1.5 g per day).

Dosage ► Dried style and stigma—20-50 mg (API Vol. IV.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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