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Treating PMS with Saffron

March 7, 2013 by Michael Greger M.D. in News with 5 Comments

Premenstrual Syndrome is among the most common health problems reported by women, affecting approximately 1 in 3, and there’s not much modern medicine has to offer. Ancient traditional medicine, though, in Asia and Persia used a spice called saffron to treat menstrual disorders. But what did they know–that was 3,500 years ago (in fact the earliest recorded use of any medicinal plant). Didn’t they realize you can’t really know anything unless it’s put through a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial? Well it took 3,500 years, but now we finally have it. Watch my 2-min. video Saffron for the Treatment of PMS to see the results.

The spice saffron is composed of the female reproductive organs of the flower of the saffron crocus. Each flower just produces a few threads, such that you need 50,000 flowers to make a single pound of spice–enough flowers to fill a football field. No wonder it’s the most expensive spice in the world. Thankfully, the PMS study found benefits using a tiny amount. What if you could get away with using even less, though?

In my 2-min. follow-up video Wake Up and Smell the Saffron I profile one of the wildest studies I saw published last year that documents psychological benefits from even just the scent of saffron. How’s that for the power of plants? The study concludes:  “Smelling saffron… is simple and easy, and it seems there is little side effect.”

For more flower power see my blog and videos on hibiscus tea (Better Than Green Tea) and chamomile tea (Red Tea, Honeybush, & Chamomile and Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy). And hey, broccoli florets are just clusters of flower buds; see The Best DetoxBroccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells, and 26 other broccoli videos. Don’t like broccoli? Well, I have hundreds of videos on more than a thousand other topics.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my 2012 year-in-review presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: m-bot / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

View all videos by Michael Greger M.D.

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  • Holly

    Do you recommend a specific amount? Is it something to mix into tea? a smoothie? Also, is there a particular source you recommend. I looked at several options on Amazon and found Persian, Spanish, etc., along with claims about their purity/lack of purity. I guess what I’m looking for from you is something like, “I buy it from _______” and take this much: ___, this way: ______. Thanks! :)

    Also, thank you so much for your work! I’ve learned so much from you. PMS has been a life long burden, so I was thrilled to see you address it today.

    • Jo

      If you look at the page of the study Dr. Greger incorporates into the “http://nutritionfacts.org/video/saffron-for-the-treatment-of-pms” video, it states that participants took 15 mg. twice a day for at total of 30 mg.

      I’m in the same boat as you … I look forward to menopause because PMS and menstruation is a killer. Still hope to knock out a kid before that happens though.

      Also, I purchased saffron capsules from a very established brand that also makes goji berry and acai berry juices you can buy at Wally World, although I ordered the capsules from that online South American river and jungle company.

      Too, I shelled out $20 for saffron pistils found at my upscale local supermarket.

  • Nutritarian

    What is your opinion of the February 2013 article in Scientific American:
    The Myth About Antioxidants?

    You can read it Here?

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbtdag/Wenner_2013.pdf

    • Thea

      Nutritarian: I didn’t read the whole article. I just glanced at it. I thought I would mention one thing that caught my eye: One of the studies that the article mentions is a study that compared people who took limited type, but high dose antioxidant supplements (ex: beta carotene, which is only one of thousands? of antioxidants) to those people who do not take pills for single or limited types of antioxidants. One of issues that Dr. Greger and others have mentioned multiple times is that taking vitamins is probably *not* the healthiest way to get antioxidants and that there are plenty of studies showing that taking those pills cause problems. Dr. Greger has at least one blog and a couple vidoes on this very topic.

      My point is: Knowing that taking a pill can cause problems is not the same as saying that a whole plant food based diet with B12 supplement would have detrimental effects. In fact, based on the studies highlighted on this site, such a diet produces superior health.

      Just some thoughts for you. As I said, I did not read the article. Just scanned it.

  • B

    My wife suffered from terrible PMS throughout her life and about 14 years ago I researched various herbal treatments and she tried them out. There was only one that really helped and almost eliminated her PMS…it’s called Vitex or Chasteberry. I purchased the standardized dose (extract not raw herb) and it is fairly inexpensive. I’ve never looked for clinical research or testing of it, just a personal trial. Over the years we mentioned it to female friends and clients…most reported some level of relief. Again, this is anecdotal, but may be worth exploring!

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