Saffron is a herb derived from the dried stigma of the Crocus sativus plant. A large body of evidence suggests that saffron is a particularly useful herb against anxiety. A number of studies have shown the benefit of saffron in animals and humans. Saffron is a bright yellow, and this colour is imparted by the presence of the carotenoids crocins. Crocins may be one of the active constituents that is responsible for the anxiolytic properties of the herb. One study evaluated the effects of crocins by exposing rats to experimental stress following administration of either 50 mg/kg body weight crocins or the benzodiazepine drug diazepam. The results of the study showed that the crocins were able to significantly reduce the anxious behaviour displayed by the rats in a manner similar to diazepam. Therefore crocin in saffron may be responsible, at least in part, for the anxiolytic effects of the herb.
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