Planta Med
DOI: 10.1055/a-0660-9565
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Efficacy of Saffron in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Depression: A Meta-analysis

Barbara Tóth
1  Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
2  Interdisciplinary Centre of Natural Products, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
,
Péter Hegyi
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Tamás Lantos
4  Department of Medical Physics and Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
,
Zsolt Szakács
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Beáta Kerémi
5  Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
,
Gábor Varga
5  Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
,
Judit Tenk
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Erika Pétervári
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Márta Balaskó
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Zoltán Rumbus
3  Institute for Translational Medicine, Medical School, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
,
Zoltán Rakonczay
6  Department of Pathophysiology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
,
Emese Réka Bálint
6  Department of Pathophysiology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
,
Tivadar Kiss
1  Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
2  Interdisciplinary Centre of Natural Products, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
,
Dezső Csupor
1  Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
2  Interdisciplinary Centre of Natural Products, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 18 May 2018
revised 02 July 2018

accepted 13 July 2018

Publication Date:
23 July 2018 (eFirst)

Abstract

Herbal products, especially Hypericum perforatum extracts, have been widely used as first-line treatments for mild to moderate depression. Recently, several randomized, controlled clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of another plant, saffron (Crocus sativus), in mild to moderate depression. We have carried out a literature review of currently available published randomized, controlled clinical trials to give an up-to-date evaluation of the efficacy of saffron in mild to moderate depression, compared to placebo or routinely used antidepressants. The meta-analysis is reported according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines using the PICO (patients, intervention, comparison, outcome) format and was conducted using the statistical programs Comprehensive Meta-analysis and RevMan. PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science databases were searched for relevant studies. Only placebo or active controlled, randomized clinical studies involving patients suffering from mild to moderate depression and using pharmacological doses of saffron per os were included. Hedgesʼ g was used to calculate effect sizes. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration tool, and heterogeneity was tested by both performing the Cochranʼs Q test and calculating Higginsʼ I2 indicator. Eleven randomized trials were included in the qualitative analysis, and nine were pooled for statistical analysis. According to the present meta-analysis, saffron has a significant effect on the severity of depression. Available data from randomized, controlled clinical trials support that saffron is significantly more effective than placebo (g = 0.891; 95% CI: 0.369 – 1.412, p = 0.001), and non-inferior to tested antidepressant drugs (g = − 0.246; 95% CI: − 0.495 – 0.004, p = 0.053).

Supporting Information