Could saffron be an effective supplement for helping manage COVID-19?
A new study, published in the journal Cell Press, explores the potential use of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) as a drug supplement for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Using saffron to manage COVID-19
The benefits of saffron within coronavirus infections could be to help with inflammation management. Due to saffron having an immune-boosting characteristic, it can help with early-stage infections, possibly working to ensure the patient has a more robust immune system which can help to reduce the severity of the viral infection. Its anti-inflammatory characteristic can also help with severe stages of infection management.
The immunomodulation of saffron components can help as a management strategy for COVID-19 through the direct targeting of toll-like receptors. A randomized clinical trial observed the immunomodulation characteristic of saffron; it found that the spice increased IgG antibody levels and decreased IgM antibody levels, compared to the baseline and placebo, which was also included. This could help manage coronavirus infection, as having a higher IgG antibody level could help protect against both bacterial and viral infections.
Saffron can also help with the respiratory complications associated with COVID-19, due to its ability to inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines and decrease coughing because of the anesthetic effect it can have on the vagal nerves of the alveoli. Crocetin, a compound of saffron, has been found to increase the speed of oxygen transport and diffusion in vitro and in vivo, which can be useful for COVID-19 as well as other conditions such as hemorrhages.
- Nair S.C., Pannikar B., Panikkar K.R. Antitumour activity of saffron (Crocus sativus). Canc. lett. 1991; 57: 109-114. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3835(91)90203-T, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/030438359190203T