Just adding saffron may help tackle depression

New research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has shown that when taken in conjunction with antidepressants, saffron may assist adults with depression.

According to Dr Adrian Lopresti from Murdoch University, this is the largest study of its kind and the first to look at the effects of saffron as an add-on to pharmaceutical antidepressants.

“In our research, depressive symptoms decreased more in participants taking saffron compared with placebo, with reductions of 41 and 21 per cent, respectively, on the clinician-rated scale,” he said.

Other improvements seen to occur involved:

  • Sleep quality.
  • Initiative and motivation.
  • Interest and pleasure in activities.

Dr Lopresti said this suggests saffron could be used as a natural supplement given with traditional antidepressant treatment to increase its effectiveness.

He added that it could also help to alleviate some of the adverse effects sometimes experienced with antidepressants.

“At the moment, if pharmaceutical antidepressants aren’t working, the options are to increase the dose or to try a new antidepressant,” he said. “This increases the likelihood of side effects.

“Now a new option is to take antidepressants and saffron together.”

More research is needed to determine the long-term benefits of saffron supplementation in the treatment of the symptoms of depression.

To read the research article, visit: journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881119867703

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