Saffron improved depression and reduced homocysteine level in patients with major depression: A Randomized, double-blind study

Document Type: Original Research Article


1 Department of Physiology, Shiraz University, Shiraz,Iran

2 Research Center for psychiatry and Behavior Science, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Objectives: A correlation between hyperhomocysteinemia, and depression has been reported. Saffron (Crocus sativus) is recommended for treatment of depression; hence, in this study the effect of co-administration of saffron and fluoxetine on plasma homocysteine and depression was evaluated.
Material and methods: This was a 4-week randomized and double-blind clinical trial which was conducted from March 2013 to February 2014. In this trial, 40 male and females (20-55 years old) diagnosed with severe depression were selected and following filing the Beck form, were randomly divided into two groups.  Experimental group was treated with fluoxetine 20 mg/day and saffron 30 mg /day and the control group received placebo and fluoxetine 20 mg/day for four weeks. Before treatment and at the end of the study, fasting blood samples were collected. For females, blood samples were collected on the third day of their menstrual cycle.
Results: A significant reduction of homocysteine levels was observed in both sex in the experimental group compared to before treatment (p<0.04), while no such significant change was observed in the control group. A Beck questionnaire value showed lower level in both groups on the last day of treatment as compared to before treatment. There was no significant difference between the two groups in Beck value neither before nor after treatment.
Conclusion: Saffron has beneficial effects on depression and homocysteine level in patients with major depression.


Main Subjects

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