Saffron (2013, 2016) and Cataract


Learn more about cataract treatment.

Diabetic cataracts are a common complication of diabetes mellitus and have been found to be improved by complementary treatment with saffron. A major component of saffron is crocin which has been found to have good antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and neuroprotective benefits in other studies.

This study evaluates the ability of crocin to inhibit proteins from bonding to sugar molecules (protein glycation) and clumping (aggregation) that leads to cataracts as a complication of diabetes.

Diabetic lab animals were treated with insulin or with insulin and saffron. Progression of cataracts was monitored and recorded on two-week intervals. The degree of cataract development was measured after eight week and the researchers found that there was a powerful inhibitory effect by crocin on cataract development.

Researchers: F. Bahmani, et al.


An interesting and related study found that the saffron apocarotenoid crocin was helpful in reducing diabetic cataracts.

Researchers: F. Bahmani, et al.

Published: Inhibitory Effect of Crocin(s) on Lens α-Crystallin Glycation and Aggregation, Results in the Decrease of the Risk of Diabetic Cataract, Molecules, January, 2016.


An earlier study investigated the effect of saffron therapy on lab animals with selenium-induced cataracts.

There were three groups: one receiving saline (placebo) injections, one receiving selenite, and a third receiving selenite and saffron. After three weeks cataract development was examined and it was found that the animals receiving saffron had received significant protection against cataract development induced by selenium. The levels of important lens nutrients superoxide dismutase, glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and catalase were much higher in the third group. The saffron prevented oxidation and protein clumping which cause cataracts.

Researchers: O.E. Makri, et al.

Published: Saffron administration prevents selenite-induced cataractogenesis, Molecular Vision, May, 2013.