Saffron offers protection from liver cancer

Safa.daneshvar [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

As a recipe ingredient, saffron’s golden color and bright flavor and aroma make it one of the world’s most popular seasoning agents. It’s also one of the costliest, collected from the stigmas and style of the flowering plant Crocus sativus, which is native to southwest Asia. In addition to its culinary qualifications, saffron has long been attributed medicinal properties as well. These include antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antihistamine and memory-boosting effects. Modern research has provided scientific evidence to support several of these curative assets, and particular attention has been given recently to saffron’s anticancer abilities. Studies have confirmed that saffron can interfere with cancer during initiation and progression and that it has antitumorigenic and proapoptotic activity. Now, a group led by Amr Amin (United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain), including colleagues at Tawam Hospital (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates) and Cairo University (Egypt), reports that saffron can prevent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a rat model of the disease.

Lab Anim. (NY) 40, 289 (2011).
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