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Showing posts with label Crocus Sativus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crocus Sativus. Show all posts

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) recommended for breast cancer

Saffron is recommended for breast cancer
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) contains chemical constituents that are responsible for its color, flavor and aroma. Saffron contains numerous phytoactive components, including crocetin, various crocins (such as picrocrocin), zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-carotene and safranal (the main component of saffron's fragrant essential oil). Saffron components have been shown to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties, as well as reducing blood pressure, anxiety and depression.

Saffron is recommended for breast cancer
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) contains chemical constituents that are responsible for its color, flavor and aroma. Saffron contains numerous phytoactive components, including crocetin, various crocins (such as picrocrocin), zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-carotene and safranal (the main component of saffron's fragrant essential oil). Saffron components have been shown to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties, as well as reducing blood pressure, anxiety and depression.

Breast cancer-related effects of eating saffron

Both saffron and crocin have been found to suppress DNA damage in a dose dependent manner in the livers, lungs, kidneys, and spleens of laboratory mice. Saffron has been shown to inhibit carcinogen-induced skin carcinoma in mice and to have cytotoxic action against human leukemia cell lines. Saffron also has been shown to cause cell death in HeLa and HepG2 liver cancer cells and TCC 5637 transitional cell carcinoma cells. Saffron extract and its constituent, crocin, have been shown to significantly inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells while not harming normal cells. Crocetin, a major carotenoid component of saffron, has been shown to have significant antiproliferative and proapoptic effects in pancreatic cancer cells in the laboratory and in laboratory mice. Saffron extract has been shown to have dose-dependent inhibitory effects on the proliferation of human MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Saffron has been found to greatly inhibit chemotherapy-induced cellular DNA damage. However, there is some evidence that saffron could be toxic at very high doses and we recommend consuming saffron as a spice and not taking saffron tablets.

Additional comments
Saffron is hand picked and hand processed, which is one reason for its high market price. Saffron is grown primarily in Iran, but it is also grown in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Kashmir and some parts of North Africa. Much of the Iranian production is redistributed through Spain. Saffron grown in these regions generally is grown without using pesticides. China is also beginning to produce saffron.

Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale), also known as wild saffron, Autumn crocus, or colchicum, is an unrelated and poisonous plant that should not be confused with saffron and is to be avoided. It can cause thirst, pain, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, kidney failure, coma, and death from respiratory failure. Diluted fractions of meadow saffron are sometimes used in herbal remedies for gout and arthritis.

Saffron might interfere with Warfarin (coumadin) and other blood-thinning therapy since it has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and thrombosis formation.

Selected breast cancer studies
Flavonoids, Proanthocyanidins, and Cancer Risk: A Network of Case-Control Studies From Italy Nutrition and Cancer, October 2010
The present meta-analysis was designed to investigate the associations between dietary intake of flavonoids and proanthocyanidins and risks of various types of cancer. The meta-analysis analyzed data from multiple Italian case-control studies including approximately 10,000 incident, histologically confirmed cases of selected cancers and more than 16,000 cancer-free controls. Multiple logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest compared to the lowest quintiles (fifths) of consumption of six classes of flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. Total intakes of flavonoids, flavanones, and flavonols were found to be inversely related to oral and laryngeal cancers (OR = 0.56 (oral cancer) and OR = 0.60 (laryngeal cancer) for total flavonoids; 0.51 (oral) and 0.60 (laryngeal) for flavanones; and 0.62 (oral) and 0.32 (laryngeal) for flavonols). Intake of flavanols was also found to be inversely related to laryngeal cancer (OR = 0.64), whereas intake of flavanones was inversely related to esophageal cancer (OR = 0.38). Reduced risk of colorectal cancer was associated with high intake of anthocyanidins (OR = 0.67), flavonols (OR = 0.64), flavones (OR = 0.78), and isoflavones (OR = 0.76). Inverse associations were also found between proanthocyanidins and colorectal cancer, especially for proanthocyanidins with a higher degree of polymerization (OR = 0.69 for ≥ 10 mers). No association between flavonoids and prostate cancer was found. A reduction in risk of breast cancer was found for high dietary intake of flavones (OR = 0.81) and flavonols (OR = 0.80). Common flavones include apigenin and luteolin (tricin is another flavone found primarily in brown rice). Common flavonols include quercetin, kaempferol and fisetin. Flavonols (OR = 0.63) and isoflavones (OR = 0.51) were found to be inversely associated with risk of ovarian cancer, whereas flavonols (OR = 0.69) and flavones (OR = 0.68) were inversely associated with renal cancer.

Circulating Carotenoids, Mammographic Density, and Subsequent Risk of Breast Cancer Cancer Research, November 2009
The present nested case-control study was designed to investigate whether the association between carotenoid consumption and risk of breast cancer is related to mammographic density. High breast density as measured by mammography has been reported to be a powerful indicator of increased breast cancer risk. The study included 604 breast cancer cases and 626 cancer-free controls in the Nurses' Health Study for whom circulating carotenoid (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein/zeaxanthin) levels had been measured and mammograms obtained prospectively. Using a computer-assisted method to determine mammographic density, circulating carotenoids were not found to be associated with mammographic density. However, mammographic density significantly influenced the association between total circulating carotenoids and risk of breast cancer (P heterogeneity = 0.008). Total circulating carotenoid levels were found to be inversely associated with overall breast cancer risk (P trend = 0.01). Among women in the highest third of mammographic density, total circulating carotenoids were associated with a 50% lower risk of breast cancer (odds ratio = 0.5; 95% confidence interval = 0.3 - 0.8). Similarly, among these women, high levels of circulating alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein/zeaxanthin were found to be associated with a significant 40% to 50% reduction in risk of breast cancer (P trend < 0.05). On the other hand, no such inverse association was observed between circulating carotenoids and breast cancer risk among study participants with low mammographic density. The authors conclude that plasma levels of carotenoids may play a role in reducing risk of breast cancer, especially among women with high breast density.

Crocetin inhibits pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression in a xenograft mouse model Molecular Cancer

Therapeutics, March 2009

The present study was designed to determine whether crocetin, a unique carotenoid found in saffron, significantly affects pancreatic cancer growth. Crocetin was found to inhibit proliferation of MIA-PaCa-2 human pancreatic cancer cells. Crocetin also was found to alter the cell cycle proteins Cdc-2, Cdc-25C, and Cyclin-B1 and epidermal growth factor receptor, inhibiting proliferation. In vivo studies also were performed. Pancreatic cancer cells were injected into the right hind legs of athymic nude mice and crocetin was given orally to the mice after the development of a palpable tumor. Significant regression in tumor growth (with inhibition of proliferation) was found in the crocetin-treated animals compared to the control animals. The authors conclude that crocetin stimulated significant apoptosis in both in vitro pancreatic cancer cells and in vivo mice tumors.

Study of cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of saffron extract in human cancer cell lines Food and Chemical Toxicology, November 2008
The present study was designed to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of saffron extract in HepG2 and HeLa liver cancer cell lines. Malignant liver cancer cells and non-malignant cells were cultured and incubated with varying concentrations of an ethanolic saffron extract. Saffron was shown to decrease cell viability in malignant cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Saffron also induced a sub-G1 peak in the flow cytometry histogram of saffron-treated cells compared to the controls, indicating apoptotic cell death was involved. This toxicity was found to be independent of ROS production. The authors conclude that saffron can cause cell death in HeLa and HepG2 liver cancer cells, and that apoptosis or programmed cell death plays an important role in this process.

Crocin from Crocus Sativus Possesses Significant Anti-Proliferation Effects on Human Colorectal Cancer Cells Experimental Oncology, September 2007

The anti-proliferative effects of Crocus sativus and its major component, crocin, on three colorectal cancer cell lines was examined in this study. Crocus sativus' effect on normal cells was also evaluated. The purity of crocin in the extract used was found to be 95.9% and the crocin content was 22.9%. The extract was found to significantly inhibit the growth of all three colorectal cancer cell lines (HCT-116, SW-480, and HT-29) in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.01). Proliferation was reduced most significantly in HCT-116 cells; to 45.5% at 1.0 mg/ml and to 6.8 % at 3.0 mg/ml. The Crocus sativus extract also had significant anti-proliferative effects in non-small cell lung cancer cells. However, the extract did not significantly affect the growth of non-cancerous young adult mouse colon cells. The authors concluded that Crocus sativus extract and its major constituent, crocin, significantly inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells while not affecting normal cells.

Inhibition of breast cancer cell proliferation by style constituents of different Crocus species Anticancer Research, January 2007
Among the different species of Crocus, only the styles of Crocus Sativus L. have been studied extensively, since these constitute the well-known spice saffron. Saffron is widely used in Mediterranean, Indian and Chinese cuisine. In the present study, hydrophilic carotenoids in the styles of three other Crocuses endemic to Greece (C. boryi ssp. tournefortii, C. boryi ssp. boryi, and C. niveus) were discovered and reported on for the first time. Incubation of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells for 48 hours with varying concentrations of extracts of all four styles was found to have a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on cell proliferation. The antiproliferative effect did not appear to be estrogen related. Studies on the effect of trans-crocin-4 (the main carotenoid constituent of C. sativus styles, digentibiosylester of crocetin), crocetin and safranal showed that the antiproliferative effect was attributable to crocin irrespective of the degree of glycosylation.

Subacute Toxicity of Crocus Sativus L. (Saffron) Stigma Ethanolic Extract in Rats American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 2007
The present study was designed to evaluate the possible toxic effects of an extract of Crocus sativus L. stigma on liver, kidney and selected hematological parameters in rats. Establishing the safety of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is important since the medicinal properties attributed to it are extensive. Wistar rats were assigned to four groups of eight. The first group was designated the control. Groups 2, 3 and 4 were treated with an ethanolic extract of saffron in doses of 0.35, 0.70 and 1.05 g per kg, respectively, for two weeks. The body weights of the rats were measured on the first, seventh and final days of the study. Blood-related tests performed on the rats included total RBC count, total WBC count, Hb, %HCT, MCH, MCV and MCHC. Biochemical and serum profile tests included ALT, AST, urea, uric acid and creatinine. Tissue specimens of the rat livers and kidneys were also examined histologically. The extract was found to result in significant reductions in Hb and HCT levels and total RBC count, without a dose-dependent relationship. However, significant dose-dependent increases in total WBC count, ALT, AST, urea, uric acid and creatinine were found in extract-treated rats. Mild to severe liver and kidney tissue injuries were observe microscopically, supporting the biochemical analysis. The authors conclude that extract of Crocus sativus L. stigma is toxic in high doses.

Protective effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract against genetic damage induced by anti-tumor agents in mice Human & Experimental Toxicology, February 2006
The genotoxic potential of chemotherapy drugs limits their efficacy in the treatment of cancers. This study was designed to evaluate the chemoprotective potential of saffron against the toxicity of three well-known chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide and mitomycin-C, using comet assay. Three doses of saffron (20, 40 and 80 mg/kg of body weight) were orally administered to mice for five days prior to dosing with the drugs under investigation. Pre-treatment with saffron was found to greatly inhibit chemotherapy drug-induced cellular DNA damage (i.e., strand breaks). The authors conclude that, together with previous study results, the findings suggest a potential role for saffron as an adjuvant in chemotherapeutic applications.

Crocus Sativus L. (Saffron) Stigma available at:
JK Meddicinal Plants Introduction Centre (R&D Department)
POB: 667 GPO Srinagar SGR J&K 190001
Mob: 09858986794
Ph: 01933-223705

Saffron seeds, Kesar, Crocus Sativus, Bulbs, Corms, Cultivation, propgation, Cashmiriana, Plantation, India, Kashmir,Guide, Cultivation methods

Scientific Cultivation of Saffron 
By: Ed. Sheikh GULZAAR
Head, The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre-JKMPIC, Srinagar

Saffron, is the most expensive spice in the world. The scientific name for saffron is "Crocus Sativus L." It belongs to the family of Iridaceas and the line of liliaceas.

Saffron is a bulbous perennial plant, ranging from 10 to 30 centimetres in height. The bulb is meaty and round, although somewhat flat at the base. It is white coloured on the inside, covered with a fibrous and rough membrane, and brown in colour.

Flowers surge from the bulb in a stem of about 3 millimetres in diameter, which develop in two purple to violet coloured membranes.

The flower is called the "Rose of the Saffron" and made up of six eliptical pieces. The stem is also a violet colour when it initially emerges, becoming more opaque, and finally turning white.

The flower contains three large stamen with orange coloured anthers. Inside the flower tube is the style, a long white filament whose apex is orange coloured. This divides into three red threads, the threads or cloves of the saffron, which correspond to the stigmas.

Saffron is a perennnial , low growing herb with a globular   corm   ranging   from  0.5  to  5cm  in diameter. The corms (Monje/Seed) produce 6-15 narrow, needle like leaves about 10 cm long; surrounded in the lower region by four to five scales. The flowers are borne singly or in two to three. The three stigmas of the flowers along with the style when dried constitute the saffron of commerce. The plant is a native of Iran and Asia Minor. In the former princely state of  Kashmir Vale is a legendry crop of well drained plateau of  Pampore (South Kashmir) where it is being  grown since ancient times. The recorded time of saffron cultivation in Kashmir dates back 550 AD  nearly four centuries earlier than that recorded in Spain. It is rightly called the golden condiment of Kashmir. World's best Saffron also cultavated in Iran, Spain, Baluchistan, Gilgat and now in Afghanistan

Saffron is an essencial oil (0.4 to 1.3 percent), rich in Saffranol, Cineol, and Pineno.  It contains Glucocids (alfa, gamma, and beta) and Protocrocines. Picrocrocines (4 percent) have been found, in addition to bitter Heterosides like the Pirocrocides.
A Heteroside of the Carotine Group, the Agliconan of the Picrococrocine is an aromatic Aldehide, the Saffranol (Dehidro-Beta-Ciclocitral). The pigment which gives it the peculiar color is Crocosid, also known as Policroita. Other pigments such as Crocinal, Licopine, Zeaxantine, and other Carotinoide pigments, like Carotine and Licopine, were also found.

USES/ DOSAGES : Via Infusions
2 to 4 grams per quart of water.
Powder Form :
300 mg to help digestion.
0.5 to 1.5 grams daily to help bowel activity.

For Use in Food : Crush the Saffron threads with your fingers or in a morter, add a small amount of hot water, then add to your dish. In most recepies the Saffron is added in the latter part of dish preparation, moments before removing the dish from the oven or stove top, to conserve its pungent aromatic flavor and color. It is common to use 2 to 4 strands of Saffron per person. Saffron is as precious as gold not because of its high demand and  low production  but because it  is used  in various religious rituals. Hindus use saffron for marking their foreheads, Muslims divine extract in water and write charms with ink thus formed. In Indian market mostly 50-60 per cent of saffron is used in chewing tobacco and for preparing wine. Saffron is used to prepare saffron rice, saffron cakes, wazwaan, tea, kehwa. cakes, in the preparation of scent and perfumes. It is used for colouring butter, Saffron Steamed Rice ,Saffron Rice Chicken, Special Scalloped Potatoes, Parsnip Lemon Puree,Orange Saffron Butter Cookies, Saffron fried rice, Saffron mutton rice, Saffron chicken rice cheese, puddings and confectionary. Like most oriental aromatic herbs saffron is also used in medicinal and culinary reputations. It stops vomiting, expels worms, heels headache and wounds. It is good for hemorrhoids, for removing the discoloration of face and pimples. It is good for epilepsy. Some times it is used in exenthematous diseases to promote eruption. It is popularly supposed to be a stimulant warm and dry in action helping in the alleviation of urinary, digestive and uterine troubles. Paste of saffron is used in dressing bruises, superficial sores, rheumatic and neurological pains and congestion of chest. Passaries of saffron are used in painful complaints of uterus. Dry boiled corms are administered in Ayurvedic and Unani ststem for treatment of gousciatica  and rheumatic pains.

Saffron Crocus Care : Growing saffron crocus can prove beneficial in two ways. It can be an inexpensive way to get saffron and apart from that saffron crocus plants are the first plants to bloom in fall and produce flowers throughout the season. The lavender-colored flowers can be a beautiful addition to your flower garden. If you are interested in knowing more about how to grow saffron crocus, read on.

* Saffron crocus can be grown from bulbs,seeds or corms. As most of the current varieties are SG1, you may not get saffron crocus seeds. But, purchase saffron crocus corms from reputed sellers only. Make sure that you are buying a saffron crocus variety (like Crocus sativus cashmirianus) only and not autumn meadow crocuses.

* The right time for planting these saffron crocus bulbs is late spring or early summer. You may also plant the corms or bulbs during the onset of fall, but, it will sprout the following spring only.

* Prepare the soil with organic material like adding compost, leaves or grass clippings to the soil. Saffron crocus plants need full sun and well drained soil for a healthy growth. The soil must not get soggy and the plant must be protected from wind. Read more on composting.

* Once you are ready with the location of planting, plant the corms in holes, which are at least four inches in depth. Always remember to plant these corms with their roots facing downwards. Keep a distance of six inches between the holes.

* If the location is likely to be frequented by rodents, it will be better to cover the area with a mesh enclosure, so that your corms are not eaten by the animals.

* During summer, the soil must be dry, as the plants become dormant in this season. The leaves and flowers develop during fall and during this season, you have to keep the soil moist (not soggy) through occasional watering.

* The flowering period may last for one month and during this time, a single application of liquid fertilizer is recommended. Continue with occasional watering till the onset of spring, as the leaves start withering during this time.

* During cold climates, dig out the corms and store them in a cold, dark place. Plant these corms again during late spring or early summer. Read more on saffron - fit for kings.

Now, you know more about saffron crocus cultivation. Start planting a saffron plant and enjoy the benefits.

Soil & Climate :
Saffron grows well in drained loamy soil. Medium grade, light soil with neutral to slightly alkaline reaction is suited for its cultivation. It prefers very well drained, clay loam soils of karewas of Kashmir. The soils should be deep and free from stones. Saffron thrives well in sub-temperate regions ranging from 1500 meter to 2400 meter.

It requires cool and sunny situation for promising growth. An optimum of 12 hours light duration is essential for growth and flowering. The day temperature should be 20-22  0C  with a difference of 10-12  0C between day and night temperatures. A good shower during August-September facilities flowering and increased yield. Dry weather condition during flowering period is essential for realizing higher yields. In general locations which receive  30-40 cms rainfall and are covered with snow during winter are good for its cultivation. Spring rains are favourable for promoting corm multiplication wherease, a second spell of rains at the beginning of autumn encourages profuse flowering.

Prpoagation :
Propgation of the plant is through corms. The plant remains dormant from May-August. The mother corm reproduces annually and gives rise to four to six daughter cormlets. The corms formed during a year produce flowers in the following year. The mother corms provide food to the new developing corms and in doing so wither, shrink and finally die. Now corms develope each year to replace the older once. Saffron bulbs multiply readily, and can (and probably should) be divided every few years.

Land Preparation and planting : Land preparation starts in March -April. The field is ploughed four to five times to a depth of 30-35 cms.Another  polghing is done in May and fields leveled. Well developed seed corms @1600 to 2000 kg per per hectare should be used after dipping in five percent solution of copper sulphate. The corms should be of 1.5 cms and above in diameter with outermost loose covering cleaned before planting. The corms should be planted in second fortnight of August at a depth of 15-20 cms with a row to row spacing of 15 cms and corm to corm spacing of five to eight cms. After planting divide the field into 2 meters x 4 meters strips by opening 15 deep and 30 cms wide furrows for proper drainage. Saffron can also be planted as an inter crop in newly planted orchards. The superior and less expensive method recommended by Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre is strip system.

Manures and fertilizers : Mix 15-20 tonnes per hectare of well decomposed FYM during last ploughing. Recent studies have revealed that application of vermicompost @350 kg/hectare has given a yield of 4.88 Kg/hectare.

Interculture : Keep the planted field undisturbed till the following June. Perform the first hoeing in June using a short handled  tangru locally called (in Kashmie) "ZOUN". This operation provides aeration to the soil which is very important for proper development of Saffron Corms.

Subsequently the second hoeing is done in the month of September along with cleaning and repairing of the drainage channels. Care should be taken not to disturb the growing buds of corms. This hoeing is accompanied by light dressing  of FYM at the rate of two tonnes per hectare. Third and final hoeing is given after the flowering is over and mannure is mixed in the soil with the help of iron  rakes. This schedule of operations is followed every year until the crop remains in the field.

Diseases and pests : Fungal diseases often infect the corms. Fungi like Rhizocotnia crocorum,, Sclerotina bulborum and Phoma Crocophila are reported to infect the corms changing the colour of flesh from white to yellow and finally to black resulting in death of the corms. poor aeration in the soil, injury to corms and hail storms provide ideal conditions for the development of diseases. Discarding can prevent this. Treat healthy corms with five percent copper sulphate solution during planting. Incidence of Gangrane disease (in this, the normal plant which prevents flower formation) is also reported from some fields. Rate and moles causing damage tones of corms every year often damage saffron cro. Zinc phoshide baiting and rat control campaign on watershed basis may be of great help.

Harvesting and processing :
The flowering season is confined to three weeks from middle of October to first week of November. The flowers are picked daily in the morning and stigmas and styles are trimmed immediately. About 1,60,000 flowers are hand picked to produce one kg of good quality dried saffron.

Saffron Bulbs/Seeds/Corms : Saffron is the only spice that comes from a flower. The flowers themselves are magnificent with a striking purple colour. Add a splash of colour to your flowerbeds or balconies with this splendid flower which blooms in October, thanks to its exceptional flower reversed vegetation cycle. What is more, you can grow and produce your own saffron easily.

Crocus Sativus (Saffron corms) for planting from June to September
Harvest in October-November of the same year!

The corms (size 2/5cm) are available from June to 10 September, however you can reserve them from now on. Corms are delivered with information of culture

Advance Booking of Saffron Corms from January to December

Buying Saffron Bulbs/Seeds/Corms
Available packets: 50, 100, 200 (Seeds/Corms/Bulbs)

For more details :
Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre
Ist Street, Shaheed-e-Azemat Road, Nambalbal, Pampore PPR Jammu and Kashmir 192121
Mailing address: PO Box 667 GPO Srinagar SGR Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Ph: 01933-223705
Mob: 09858986794

Planting material available : Olive,Kiwi, Picanut,Hazelnut, and herbal seeds. 
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