Medicinal Herbs and ADHD


Scientific Name: Crocus sativus


  • Glycosides: Crocin, crocetin, safranal and picro-crocin (hydrophilic carotenoids)
  • Volatile oil
  • Vitamins: riboflavin, thiamine & beta-carotene.
  • Essential fatty acids (linoleic & linolenic)
  • Phytosterols (campesterol, stigmasterol and β-sitosterol, ursolic, oleanolic, palmitic, palmitoleic and oleic acids)

Medicinal actions:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-tumorgenic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Cardiac Tonic (Vascular Tonic & Hypotensive)
  • Diaphoretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Immunomodulator
  • Nervine Tonic/Relaxant
  • Nootropic

Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:

  • Hydrophilic carotenoids (glycosides): Crocin, crocetin, safranal and picro-crocin are primarily responsible for many of the plants therapeutic effects.
  • The majority of crocin is hydrolyzed to crocetin (the major metabolite of crocin) before absorption through gastrointestinal tract. Crocin is not considered to be well absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract and is largely excreted from following oral administration.
  • Crocin may inhibit uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, and safranal acts via serotonin and may be responsible for antidepressant effects. Safranal has shown ability to bind to some benzodiazepines subtypes (e.g. BZ1, BZ2, BZ3), ameliorate insomnia in mice and influence muscle relaxation. Crocin has been proposed for relief of painful dysmenorrhea as it may decrease uterine contractions, while picrocrocin seems to have a sedative effect on spasms and lumbar pains.
  • Overall, glycosides have been found to modulate synaptic processes via direct/indirect interplay with neurotransmitter receptor functions, interaction with neuronal death/survival pathways, and alteration in neuronal proteins expression, proving beneficial effects in depressive disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological abnormalities. Crocetin has demonstrated neuromodulatory effects in the rat model of Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Crocin is regarded as the most potent component against oxidative stress and a modulator of apoptosis, however the synergistic effect of all constituents are responsible for Saffron’s significant antioxidant activity. These compounds can protect DNA and tRNA from harmful chemical reaction through the formation of ligand–polynucleotide complexes. Can bind to proteins, nucleic acids (DNA, tRNA) and lipids (linoleic acid) and protect these molecules from free radical damage.
  • Crocin and crocetin have ability to increase plasma oxygen diffusivity which could attenuate artery damage and cholesterol insertion within the vasculature. Crocin has shown protective effects against endothelial cell apoptosis, decreased cholesteryl ester deposition in macrophages and the uptake of oxidized LDL, and thereby may slow down the formation of foam cells, which constitutes the primary element of atherosclerosis. Crocetin is able to increase the speed of oxygen transport and diffusivity, both in vivo and in vitro and is also a hypotensive.
  • Picrocrocins are the main substances responsible for saffron’s bitter taste, while safranal (volatile oil) is responsible for the characteristic aroma.


  • Capsules
  • Infusion

Safety & Toxicity Concerns:

  • Rare and mild, but may include dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. At toxic levels could cause spontaneous bleeding, numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, and yellowish skin and eyes due to precipitation of yellow pigments on the skin and conjunctiva.


  • Use caution with patient on anticoagulants or renal insufficiency.

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.