Posted on Jul 17, 2014, 6 a.m.
The saffron crocus is source to two potent cancer-fighting compounds.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Saffron has been long-used as a folk medicine. Scientists have identified that saffron contains vitamin B2 along with a yellow flavonoid called crocin, a bitter glycoside called picrocrocin, and the volatile, aromatic substance safranal. Korean researchers revealed that Crocetin, a glycosylated carotenoid present in saffron, showed approximately 5- to 18-fold higher cytotoxicity than crocin, a carboxylic carotenoid in saffron. Importantly, the team found that both crocetin and crocin reduced the protein expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), one of the targets for chemoprevention in cancer cells, by 34.2% and 10.5%, respectively.
Kim SH, Lee JM, Kim SC, Park CB, Lee PC. “Proposed cytotoxic mechanisms of the saffron carotenoids crocin and crocetin on cancer cell lines.” Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Apr;92(2):105-11.