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Treating PMS with Saffron

Premenstrual Syndrome is among the most common health problems reported by women, affecting approximately 1 in 3, and there’s not much modern medicine has to offer. Ancient traditional medicine, though, in Asia and Persia used a spice called saffron to treat menstrual disorders, but what did they know? That was 3,500 years ago—in fact the earliest recorded use of any medicinal plant. Didn’t they realize you can’t really know anything unless it’s put through a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial? Well it took 3,500 years, but now we finally have it. Click on the video pick above to see the results.

The spice saffron is composed of the female reproductive organs of the flower of the saffron crocus. Each flower just produces a few threads, such that you need 50,000 flowers to make a single pound of spice–enough flowers to fill a football field. No wonder it’s the most expensive spice in the world. Thankfully, the PMS study found benefits using a tiny amount. What if you could get away with using even less, though?

In my 2-min. follow-up video Wake Up and Smell the Saffron I profile one of the wildest studies I saw published last year that documents psychological benefits from even just the scent of saffron. How’s that for the power of plants? The study concludes:  “Smelling saffron… is simple and easy, and it seems there is little side effect.”

For more flower power see my blog and videos on hibiscus tea (Better Than Green Tea) and chamomile tea (Red Tea, Honeybush, & Chamomile and Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy). And hey, broccoli florets are just clusters of flower buds; see The Best DetoxBroccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells, and 26 other broccoli videos. Don’t like broccoli? Well, I have hundreds of videos on more than a thousand other topics.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: m-bot / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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7:50AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

i take it but hate the after taste it leaves even in capsules form.

7:48AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thanks for the info.

3:55PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Thanks for the article. Maybe grow your own in a pot if you don't have a garden, then harvest it when appropriate and pop it in a jar so you can sniff it when you need to :-)

12:39PM PST on Feb 2, 2013

Good to know... Thank you!

11:01AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thanks Mr. Greger! I do have a question for you. I am interested in buying "pure" saffron powder to mix in with drinks to help with PMS symptoms and help educate others in my health coaching business. So, I want to try it my own. Are there any specific saffron types you recommend to do this? If so, which ones are the best? I know there are different types like "powder" and "thread" etc. Which do I go with?

6:49PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Thank you Dr, Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

6:59PM PST on Nov 9, 2012

Interesting, but out of reach for most of us. $$$

9:27PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

I wonder if it works for menopause?

8:39PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

It's pretty expensive just for a few strands :/

9:39PM PDT on Nov 1, 2012

How interesting....I love saffron

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