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Saffron for the Treatment of PMS

The spice saffron appears to improve both the emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

October 17, 2012 |
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PMS, is among the most common health problem 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 know 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 we finally have it.

Women experiencing PMS for at least 6 months were randomly assigned to a capsule of saffron versus a capsule of, nothing and low and behold “saffron was found to be effective in relieving symptoms of PMS.”

Check it out, reported PMS symptoms significantly dropped even within the first cycle and continued to improve. This included changes in “mood (anxiety, irritability, depression, nervous tension, mood swings and feelings of being out of control), behaviour (poor coordination, insomnia, confusion, headache, crying and fatigue), pain (aches, cramps, and tenderness) and other physical symptoms including cravings and swelling), all thanks to a little powder, from the saffron crocus.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by vetstud.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Remember saffron from my videos Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s and Saffron Versus Aricept? See my blog Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment for some context and my post on other natural remedies: Amla: Indian Gooseberries vs. Cancer, Diabetes, and Cholesterol. I have another 5 dozen or so videos on women's health, one of more than a thousand topics I cover. This is the first of a 3-part video series on the latest on this plant powerful spice. Tomorrow's NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day Wake Up and Smell the Saffron is even more unbelievable than today's, and I wrap up with a head-to-head comparison: Saffron vs. Prozac.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Treating PMS with SaffronHibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?Cinnamon for Diabetes, and Treating Breast Pain with Diet

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

PS: How do you like the cool new intro/outro? All thanks to Christi, our amazing web developer--wait until you see what else she has in store!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Remember saffron from my videos Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s and Saffron Versus Aricept? See my blog Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment for some context and my post on other natural remedies: Amla: Indian Gooseberries vs. Cancer, Diabetes, and Cholesterol. I have another 5 dozen or so videos on women’s health, one of more than a thousand topics I cover. This is the first of a 3-part video series on the latest on this plant powerful spice. Tomorrow’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day Wake Up and Smell the Saffron is even more unbelievable than today’s, and I wrap up with a head-to-head comparison: Saffron vs. Prozac.

    If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Great clean, new look!!!  Nice intro. Great job!

      Now down to business!  Isn’t saffron the most expensive herb on the market?  So what is the cost of keeping my wife happy and preventing me from having to perform the monthly exorcism? ;-)

      Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world!  So what is the burden of bliss?

      In the study they gave women 30 mg per day (BID).  So how much does that cost?   1 ounce costs appoximately $115.  1 ounce equals 28,350mg.  divided by 30 = 945 doses.  So I could effectively treat my wife for about 3 years for $115 or $0.12 cents a day!

      Now that is cost effective!!!!

      Great job again and as always!!  And thanks to Christi too!  

      • Toxins

         The next video will show how effective simply smelling saffron can be.

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Spoiler Alert!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

           We’ll make sure not to go to the movies with Toxins. ;)

      • Dssikes

         I found two sources in my town – the local grocery has 1g for ~$20, that’s $566 per ounce! An Asian food market sells a bag of 15g for $1.5 that’s barely $3 / oz… However, if that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve read that adulteration is a problem in the supply chain.

    • Jo

      Love the new intro and closing! Thank you for shining a light on the subject even women don’t necessarily share with each other. It’s a real problem that never gets properly addressed. Thank you again!

    • http://nutrientuniverse.blogspot.co.uk/ JAMESKB

       Saffron vs Prozac. Look forward to it.

  • Elpoo

    Snazzy intro!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

       So glad you like it!

  • BCBilly

    Ooh  Shiny new graphic.  Like it!

    This reminds me of the “Get the Lead Out” video which raised my awareness about the quality of these natural medicines.  While I suspect pure saffron would unlikely have high concentrations of lead.  A blended capsule with other beneficial herbs, spices and minerals may contain high levels of lead.

    Which is another reason for Organic registration and quality assurance.

    Thanks Micheal!
        (and gang?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=640861216 Gary Yuen

    Good stuff. Other herbs that have been tested: hemp seed, Nut grass (cyperus rotundus), rose, shilajit, ginger, saraca indica, tribulus terrestris, myrrh, saussurea lappa, and many others. Hippocates, I think doesn’t classify it as PMS, though for many reproductive disorders, often used is a flax paste (with other ingredients, sometimes breast milk) rubbed in the uterus.

    Another main herb is shatavari (asparagus root). A different variety also used in chinese medicine. It’s more for reproductive health and cooling heat. I’d guess PMS has various origins: heat, anxiety, stress, phthisis …. And so the proper herb depends on the circumstance. But shatavari is probably good for general health, and asparagus.

    Hippocrates’ use of flax paste rubbed in the uterus is probably also good for maintenance of health.

    For the best “science’ of ancient remedies, seems that would be a chapter in Scientific basis for Ayurvedic therapies.

  • http://nutrientuniverse.blogspot.co.uk/ JamesKB

    That woman is kind of scary

  • Melissaberman

    If you have Trader Joe’s in your area, they have saffron for a much more reasonable price than other places. However, I’m lost as to how to use it. Any suggestions on how to cook with saffron? And, how much should be consumed in order to reap the benefits for preventing pms symptoms? 

    • Emzi53

      Im not sure about the dosage, but you can make a tea with saffron.

  • Hans Rippel

    what’s a good saffron source/product?

  • Cooper Walter

    Is saffron safe? Given it’s potency at helping so many different ailments, does it have any side effects? Although not for my personal use, and although few people, I predict, will be confiding in me that they have PMS, it would be great to know just in case! Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brooke.renee.58 Brooke Renee Rodgers

    Thanks Mr. Greger! I do have a question for you. I am interested in buying “pure” saffron powder to mix in with drinks to help with PMS symptoms and help educate others in my health coaching business. So, I want to try it on my own. Are there any specific saffron types you recommend to do this? If so, which ones are the best? I know there are different types like “powder” and “thread” etc. Which do I go with?

  • Audrey Pellicano

    Hi Michael, Gotta love ancient brillance! My two daughters, both in their twenties, suffer terrible PMS. I will forward this to them but, how much saffron do they need to take? Both are cooks so, would adding saffron to their food produce the same effect?
    Thanks in advance.
    Audrey Pellicano

  • Jhj

    Please post an answer recommending dosage/methods of ingestion per saffron!

  • Lisa

    I tried this and it works! My typical symptoms for PMS: one good cry and very irritable. I bought 1 gram of saffron, took 2 deep sniffs 2x/day am/pm. I can honestly say, I did not experience any PMS symptons! Love it! Thank you!

  • Rivka Freeman

    Put saffron in food. Cut up alot of vegetables and greens, put them in water in a big pot. Add 1 tbsp saffron 1tbsp tumeric 1 tbsp rosemary 1tbsp Himalayan salt 1 tbsp black pepper. You don’t need to fry onions they will be totally see through by cooking in water on the lowest crock pot setting or on the stove. In an hour it is ready to eat. Leave it over night for Shabbos lunch and it’s called pareve cholent. Store it in portions in the fridge and take it for a snack or work tomorrow, it doesn’t have to be reheated. Follow me http://twitter.com/@rivkafreeman and http://google.com/+RivkaFreeman