The spice saffron is being investigated as a possible treatment for moodiness or associated mild stress symptoms in adolescents, with an Australian trial showing some promising results.
Researchers at Murdoch University in WA tested the impact of a high-dose saffron supplement on nearly 70 Australian adolescents, aged 12 to 16, suffering from moodiness, stress, and confusion.
For the eight-week randomised, double-blind trial, the adolescents were given 14mg of patented saffron supplement (affron®) or a placebo twice daily.
Overall, the teens on the saffron treatment reported a 33% improvement in their mood, compared to 17% in people taking the placebo.
Psychologist and co-author Dr Adrian Lopresti says the study has shown that saffron has the potential to be an effective alternative for mood improvement, as it shows very few side effects.
« Although cooking with large quantities of saffron may be prohibitively expensive, supplements are a far more cost-effective way to ingest the spice. We are now working to identify the optimal dose needed to lift moods and how long the treatment can be used for », he said.
While saffron may improve someone’s response to stress, Dr Lopresti noted it is better to identify and treat the cause of stress in the first instance.
Source: A.L. Lopresti et al. affron®, a standardised extract from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for the treatment of youth anxiety and depressive symptoms.