Ancient Tradition

During ancient times, saffron (Crocus Sativus L.) had many uses around the world. However, some of these uses have been forgotten in modern times.
The traditional use of saffron as an antidepressant has a long tradition, from antiquity to modern times. In the countries where it is cultivated (e.g., Persia), saffron tea has a reputation for improving mood.

Hosseinzadeh1 and Nassiri-Asl (2012) [1] reported that recent scientific studies, reporting on the antidepressant properties of saffron and its constituents, including crocin, crocetin and safranal, are similar to those found in Avicenna’s monograph (dating to ~1,000BCE).

Yousefi and Shafaghi [2] stated that one of the most well-known effects of saffron in Persian traditional medicine is its exhilarant and antidepressant activity, which leads to the sense of happiness and laughter.

Jorjani (1976) [3] noted that saffron is astringent and resolvent and its fragrance can strengthen these two effects. Hence, its action on enlivening the essence of the spirit and inducing happiness is great. According to Razi (1968) [4], the use of saffron may also lead to an intense feeling of pleasure, which is close to a psychotic state and may also be used as a sedative.

The cycological disorders of saffron in ancient time in terms of anti-stress, relaxant, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety compound was also reported by Mousavi and Bathaie [5].

[1] Hosseinzadeh, H., & Nassiri‐Asl, M. (2013). Avicenna's (Ibn Sina) the canon of medicine and saffron (Crocus sativus): a review. Phytotherapy Research, 27(4), 475-483.
[2] Yousefi, M., & Shafaghi, K. (2020). Saffron in Persian traditional medicine. In Saffron (pp. 393-404). Woodhead Publishing.
[3] Jorjani, S.E., 1976. Zakhireh Kharazmshahi (Treasure of Kharazmshahi). The Iranian Culture Foundation, Tehran (in Persian)
[4] Razi, M. Z. (1968). Al-Hawi fi'l-tibb (Comprehensive book of medicine). Hyderabad: Osmania Oriental Publications Bureau, 20, 548-553.
[5] Mousavi, S. Z., & Bathaie, S. Z. (2011). Historical uses of saffron: Identifying potential new avenues for modern research. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 1(2), 57-66.
Mousavi and Bathaie [5] report that in ancient times saffron was used to treat a range of psychological disorders including stress, depression, and anxiety.