Saffron (2014-2015) & Memory
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The researchers noted that several studies reported improvements in patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease or equal benefit as certain drugs but without side-effects. The presence of beta amyloid is a key indicator of Alzheimer's and its presence is a cause of loss of nerve synapse functionality and cell death of nerve cells.
The researchers examined crocin (a colorant and key component of saffron) on memory and the process of cell death. They also investigated the effect on patient's capacity to remember information about their surroundings using nicotine as a control for mice in a standard Morris Water Maze. The Morris Water Maze task provides an accurate assessment of how the mind learns and remembers as well as the degree of damage to the brain.
The test found that mice given crocin demonstrated significantly improved spatial memory compared to mice given beta amyloid.
In addition, they found that crocin significantly improves certain ratios and protein levels that are associated with cell death.
Researchers: F. Asadi, et al.
Published: Reversal effects of crocin on amyloid β-induced memory deficit: Modification of autophagy or apoptosis markers, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, December, 2015.
This review of the literature and research around saffron reports that it is probably effective in a wide variety of problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, stomach problems, memory and learning problems. Research has found that saffron reduces inflammation and clogged arteries, protects the gene structure and removes toxins from cells. Additionally it increases glutamate, which is especially abundant in the brain where it is the most powerful neurotransmitter.
Reviewers: M.R. Khazdair, et al.
Published: The effects of Crocus sativus (saffron) and its constituents on nervous system: A review, Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, September-October, 2015.