There is no doubt that cancer is one of the fatal disease all over the world and alone results to more than 6 million deaths every year. According to medical experts, the best way to prevent the development of cancer in any individual is the use of natural or synthetic agents to block its development in the human body. The use of herbs, plants, vegetables and spices in traditional medicine have been recognised globally as one of the ways by which cancer can be prevented.
Saffron, as a herb and spice have attracted the attention of many research groups, as a result of its chemical properties. Among the 150 volatile compounds and other various non-volatile compounds contained in saffron, the majority of them have already been identified to be effective in the prevention of cancer. Studies has revealed that the continuous use of saffron can stop the growth and development of mouse tumors, which are derived from various cancer cells.
Saffron as an anti-tumor and anti-cancer herb
Studies have also revealed that safranal, one of the volatile oils found in saffron has an cytotoxic and antioxidant effects on cancer cells. More still, Alfa-crocin, a carotenoid compound found in saffron and is responsible for the golden-yellow hue of the spice has been discovered to possess anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-depressant qualities. The presence of safranal and crocin in saffron can prevent the development of cancer cells and tumors in the human body.
It has been discovered also that saffron not only prevents cancer growth, but can also help patient already having cancer fight off the disease. Cancer cells develop by building their own supply of blood in the body. Saffron fights off this disease by finding a way to enter the cancer cells and then force them to commit suicide (also referred to as Apoptosis). The carotenoid content of saffron causes deadly and toxic reaction to certain types of cancer cells such as sarcoma cells, leukaemia cells and cancerous carcinoma cells.
The saffron flower contains a chemical called crocin, which has antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties. Crocin has been found to be very effective against different types of cancer like the prostate cancer and the likes. In addition, crocin contains flavonoids, which has been found to shrink cancerous cell lines, thereby destroying them.
Other health benefits of saffron are its use in the treatment of menstrual discomfort, asthma, atherosclerosis, depression, etc. Saffron also contains bio-chemical compounds like the lycopene, zea-xanthin, and α- and β- carotene, all of which act as immune modulator and as such, prevent the development of cancer in the body.