Anti-cancer properties of saffron

8/27/2019

Anti-cancer properties of saffron

One of the native plants of South Khorasan is saffron (Crocus sativus). Its dried stigma is used
for a variety of medical, industrial, and food purposes. Nowadays, there is a growing prevalence of cancer in developed and developing countries. One of the important medicinal properties of saffron stigmas is its anticancer effects. The first report on the anti-cancer properties of this plant was presented by Gainer et al. in 1976. Crocin (considered as the source of saffron odor) induces apoptosis in cancer cells by increasing pre-apoptotic protein expression of Bax and caspases as well as decreasing the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. These functions stop the development of cancer tissues in stomach, breast, pancreas, prostate, and bladder. Common treatments for cancer include chemotherapy and radiation, which can cause many side effects due to their effects on normal cells and may cause resistance in patients. Therefore, it is important to identify herbal remedies with the highest anticancer effects and the least side effects that can lead to a longer life and quality of life for the cancer patients. As a result, recent studies highly suggest that saffron stigma and its secondary metabolites can be considered as safe natural agents in the prevention and treatment of various cancer types due to their effective anticancer properties.

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