The neuropsychotropic effects of Crocus sativus L. (saffron): an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses investigating its clinical efficacy in psychiatric and neurological disorders

Document Type : Review Article


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

2 Psychiatric Research Center, Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Saffron is a spice derived from the Crocus sativus L. with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. This study aims to systematically review the systematic reviews (SRs) investigating the clinical neuropsychotropic effects of saffron.
Materials and Methods: The protocol of this SR was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021268446). Scopus, ISI Web of Science, Embase, MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and PROSPERO were searched up to June 6, 2021, to find SRs investigating the neuropsychotropic effects of saffron. The primary outcome was a report on whether or not saffron was effective in each study. AMSTAR was checked for the included reviews.
Results: Twenty-three studies were reviewed with a mean AMSTAR score of 6.08 (ranging from 1 to 10). Thirteen SRs investigated the effects of saffron on depression. Six of the SRs studied its impact on sexual dysfunction. Each of the anxiety and cognitive disorders was discussed in three distinct reviews. Furthermore, possible effects of saffron on some other disorders, like premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression, sleep disorders, and snacking behavior, have been reported.
Conclusion: Saffron is beneficial, safe, and tolerable in treating the mentioned neurological and psychiatric disorders. Further high-quality, large-scale studies are recommended to rectify the shortcomings.


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