Recently an article on the possible beneficial effects of saffron on sleep was published on JCSM (Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine). The experimental protocol was a double-blind placebo controlled procedure.
The aim of the research was to verify the hypothesis that a treatment with saffron was able to improve the quality of sleep by reducing insomnia.
Obtained results are promising and it is interesting that the authors discussed a critical point, namely the knowledge and reproducibility of the product used for the tablets. The researchers used a standardized saffron extract, called “affron”, obtained from the stigmas of crocus sativus, arguing the importance of using a clearly characterized product. The basic idea is more than correct and it has always been the limit of natural products: you might know exactly their chemical composition and be able to relate it to function. In this case, however, information on the starting product is lacking: certainly the extraction system is very reproducible and it is certainly class 1 saffron – as established by the regulations – but this type of analysis only tells us that it is of high quality and with appropriate total content in crocins, but does not say the ratio among them.
Recently the chemical composition of saffron has been defined in experiments aimed at coping with neurodegenerative processes and conducted in parallel, both “in vitro” and “in vivo” models, with chemical analyzes and it was concluded that the best neuro-protective efficacy it is obtained with saffron with well-defined percentage contents of certain molecules (crocins), which has been understood to depend not only on the geographical origin but on well-defined cultivation and drying techniques.
Hortus Novus holds the patent – associated with the Repron® brand – which identifies saffron with neuro-protective efficacy.
The research goes on and, if on the one hand it confirms the importance of using products of natural origin to treat some pathologies, on the other it is increasingly evident how it is necessary to acquire in-depth knowledge at many levels requiring close interactions among the various disciplines. (clinical, chemical, physiological, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, etc.).
Read the article.