Mental health is one of the most prominent illnesses present in society today, even more so than heart disease and even diabetes. Disruptions to mental wellness can have a significant impact on people’s work and social lives and overall quality of life. There is a huge focus in healthcare on reducing the burden of mental illness specifically depression, anxiety and stress. Poor sleep may also be linked to mental health, as it can weaken the immune system and in turn increase levels of anxiety and depression.
A large emphasis on treating mental illness is focused on prescription medication that works to increase levels of natural circulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that work synergistically to balance mood.
A recent study has been conducted in Australia to measure the clinical significance of 3.5% Saffron extract from the Crocus sativus flower in improving mood disorders, improving sleep and symptoms of anxiety and stress in healthy individuals. The patients that participated were unaware of which treatment they were receiving and had self-reported having low mood but were not clinically diagnosed with low mood. Within the trial patients were unknowingly assigned a 3.5% strength saffron extract of a 22mg or 28mg dose per day or a placebo (a dummy pill) and were measured over a 4-week period.
To monitor the effects of the saffron/placebo doses each patient measured their mood levels and sleep quality using internationally accredited scales and indexes. The sleep quality index used self-rated questions by the patient and their partner/person whom had a close relationship with the participant.
The study concluded that there was a significant decrease in the stress and anxiety related mood scores, as well as a slight improvement in sleep quality amongst patients. These results were most significant at 28mg of 3.5% strength Saffron extract per day. This result was consistent for both male and females and was achieved without any observed side effects.
This study suggests that natural extract of 3.5% strength saffron can have a significant effect on improving anxiety and balancing mood disorders in people that are experiencing low mood symptoms. It must be administered at a minimum dose of 28 mg per day. The quality and strength of the saffron is also found to be significant to achieve optimum effects, determined from the growing conditions of the Crocus Sativus flower.
For more information on the trial and for advice on saffron supplementation contact the pharmacist at The Naked Pharmacy via firstname.lastname@example.org