Saffron Improves Sleep and Depression-Anxiety Symptoms

Any health condition is likely to bring anxieties with it. Simply knowing that something is wrong is enough to make anyone feel bad. However, physical diseases also create changes in the body and mind that can induce worry, fear, sleeplessness, and other symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Saffron (Crocus sativus) has been used as both a spice and a medicine for generations. In recent years, saffron extracts have attracted the attention of researchers because of its anti-depressant actions.

In this study, individuals with mild to moderate depression-related anxiety (tied to having type 2 diabetes) were divided into placebo and saffron groups for eight weeks.

By the end of this test period, those in the saffron group saw a significant improvement in their quality of sleep and depression-related anxiety symptoms.

At only 30 mg per day, the dosage level for saffron in this study was not large, but it typically doesn’t need to be. In other research combining saffron and curcumin, the level of saffron was the same (along with either 250 mg or 500 mg of curcumin twice daily.) Saffron is also safe, and doesn’t cause the side effects commonly seen with other medications, which may only complicate treatments for diabetes. For anyone dealing with a multitude of conditions stemming from type 2 diabetes, saffron (or saffron combined with curcumin) may be an excellent choice.


Milajerdi A, Jazayeri S, Shirzadi E, et al. The effects of alcoholic extract of saffron (Crocus satious [sic] L.) on mild to moderate comorbid depression-anxiety, sleep quality, and life satisfaction in Type 2 diabetes mellitus: A double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2018;41:196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.09.023.

OBJECTIVE: Depression and anxiety are major health problems throughout the world. Metabolic changes in type 2 diabetes mellitus induces and aggravates mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Saffron as a therapeutic herb may attenuate Comorbid Depression- Anxiety (CDA). So, this trial is designed to investigate the effect of saffron alcoholic extract on symptoms of CDA in type 2 diabetic patients.

METHODS: Fifty-four outpatients suffered from mild to moderate CDA diagnosed by using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV), were assessed by Hamilton Depression and anxiety measurements, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). The participants of this double-blind, placebo-controlled, single center and randomized trial were randomly assigned to intake 30 mg/day saffron or placebo capsules for 8 weeks.

RESULTS: After the intervention, mild to moderate CDA, anxiety and sleep disturbance, but not depression alone, were relieved significantly in the saffron group (P < 0.05), whereas, the changes were not significant in the placebo group. Anthropometric measures and blood pressure parameters of the patients in either groups did not change significantly (P > 0.05) during the intervention. Moreover, dietary intake and physical activity did not differ during the study in the two groups. Changes in the life satisfaction were not significant.

CONCLUSION: The results indicate the beneficial effect of saffron on the mild to moderate CDA in type 2 diabetic patients.