Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus sativus L. flower which commonly used as a natural remedy to enhance health and even fights disease in the Middle-East and Southeast Asian countries. These include antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antihistamine and memory-boosting effects.
Modern research has provided scientific evidence to support several of these curative assets, and particular attention has been given recently to saffron’s anticancer abilities. Studies have confirmed that saffron can interfere with cancer during initiation and progression and that it has antitumorigenic and proapoptotic activity.
What is liver Cancer?
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Medical evidence has shown that chronic infection with hepatitis B and C are major risk factors for HCC, and exposure to environmental carcinogens, iron overload, fatty liver disease and alcohol abuse can also contribute to development of liver cancer.
“In the fight against cancer, there has been much interest in chemopreventive properties of natural herbs and plants,” said Prof. Amr Amin from United Arab Emirates University. “With limited treatment options, approaches that prevent cancer development are among the best strategies to protect against the disease.” Prior studies have shown that saffron, a naturally derived plant product, possesses antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Saffron is a commonly used spice, adding flavor and color to foods, and a possible cancer-fighting substance that is readily available.
Is Saffron good for cancer patient?
New research suggests that saffron provides a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer in animal models. When saffron was administered to rats with diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver cancer an inhibition of cell proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis was observed. Full findings appear in the September issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
In order to further explore the potential of saffron in preventing the development and progression of HCC, DEN was used to induce lesions in rats, mimicking benign and malignant tumors in humans. The research team administered saffron to the animals at 75mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, and 300 mg/kg per day two weeks prior to DEN injection and continued the regimen for 22 weeks.
“Our findings suggest that saffron provides an anti-cancer protective effect by promoting cell death (apoptosis), inhibiting proliferation of cancerous cells, and blocking inflammation,” concluded Prof. Amin. “Further investigation of saffron extract and its mechanism of action in HCC is currently underway.”
This study is published in Hepatology. Read more here.