Health & Wellbeing

Preliminary study finds saffron extract could improve sleep

Preliminary study finds saffro...
In a recent study, saffron was found to outperform a placebo as a treatment for insomnia
In a recent study, saffron was found to outperform a placebo as a treatment for insomnia
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In a recent study, saffron was found to outperform a placebo as a treatment for insomnia
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In a recent study, saffron was found to outperform a placebo as a treatment for insomnia

Should you suffer from insomnia, you'll know how tempting it can be to rely on sleep-aid drugs. A new study, however, suggests that insomniacs may have success with a natural supplement, in the form of saffron extract.

The research was conducted by scientists at Australia's Murdoch University, and was funded by Pharmactive Biotech Products – that company's Affron saffron extract was used in the study.

For 28 days, a total of 63 volunteers received either two 14-mg doses of the extract daily, or they got a placebo. Neither the test subjects nor the people administering the substances knew who was getting what.

All of the volunteers were between 18 and 70 years of age, were not being treated for depression, and had not taken any medication (apart from contraceptive pills) for at least four weeks. Additionally, although they had all self-reported sleep problems, they were otherwise healthy.

When 55 of the test subjects subsequently rated their sleep according to the standardized Insomnia Severity Index, it was found that those who had been taking the extract experienced improvements in sleep-quality compared to those who had been given the placebo. In fact, most of the first group noticed those improvements within seven days of beginning the treatment.

Additionally, no adverse side effects were noted.

While it still isn't entirely clear how saffron may help fight insomnia, a planned larger study involving a more demographically-varied group of volunteers may provide some answers.

A paper on the research, which is being led by Dr. Adrian Lopresti, has been published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Source: Murdoch University

5 comments
paul314
How much saffron is required to maker that extract? The unprocessed stuff costs $7 a gram...
RobC
This is exciting if it works except isn't saffron crazy expensive?
buzzclick
Like the others above, my first thought; using saffron, the world's most expensive spice, to help people sleep doesn't make sense. It's a lot of work to get very little, so I made sure I had the numbers right. It takes 80,000 crocus flowers to yield a pound of saffron. It's worth more than gold, but what we don't know is if it helps you get to sleep or improves the quality of the sleep itself.
sanjsrik
So... for the millenia that ayurvedic and homeopathic users have been using saffron for this exact reason, I'm guessing once western "science" theorizes on stuff that's been known for generations, it must be "valid" then. Honestly, western science someday need to simply admit they never knew anything.
Craig
Apparently it is very reasonable, about 50 cents a day at this dosage level in the study. per the company's website where it is sold