People suffering from neuropathy may require various kinds of treatment to alleviate pain, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations. Moreover, some patients suffering from nerve damage turn to alternative medicine, including supplementation.
As stated in this article on NeuropathyHelp.co, well-known supplements available in the market today contain naturally-derived extracts on top of vitamins and minerals that have been studied and clinically-proven effective to treat neuropathy.
While it may not be as popular as oat straw, feverfew, passionflower, and skullcap extracts, saffron is another kind of herb that caught scientists’ attention because of its potential in aiding recovery from nerve damage. Read on to learn more about this spice that has uses beyond the kitchen.
What Is Saffron?
Derived from saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) flowers, saffron is known to be one of the world’s most expensive spices primarily because of the difficulty of its extraction process. It is also quite pricey as it can be used in a wide variety of dishes both as a coloring and flavoring agent. But that’s not what makes saffron most special.
As it turns out, saffron is also a powerful medicinal herb that aids in treating various medical conditions and contains over 150 volatile compounds. These include carotenoids, antioxidants, safranal, crocin, and other biochemicals essential for a healthy body.
How Saffron Can Help Neuropathy Patients
Saffron’s health benefits have been studied over the years. Researchers found that this reddish orange-pigmented spice that usually comes in powder form helps boost human immunity, improves blood circulation, speed up metabolism, balance sugar levels, relieve anxiety, and strengthen the bones.
However, neuropathy experts are most interested in one particular benefit it provides is an improvement of nerve function. Below are four ways saffron can aid neuropathy patients’ recovery.
1.Relief from Nerve Pain
Studies have shown that saffron can be used to alleviate nerve pain. Based on experts’ studies, the crocin and safranal contents in the spice are the key for its efficacy in pain relief because they serve as anti-nociceptive compounds that reduce allodynia, which is an increased response of neurons from repetitive stimulation that leads to hypersensitivity to touch, pressure, and temperature.
It is also found to be more effective when used with the antidepressant drug amitriptyline, based on research published in 2017.
2. Improve Diabetic Neuropathy
Aside from stabilizing blood sugar levels in diabetics, saffron has also been found to be effective in neutralizing peripheral neuropathy caused by the chronic disease. In fact, studies have shown that safranal and crocin contained in the valuable spice have anti-oxidative properties that prevent nerve stress and protects against nerve damage by boosting insulin’s neuroprotective action.
3. Promotes Mental Wellness and Protects Against Stress Caused By Neuropathy
People suffering from neuropathy are at risk of stress and mental issues. Years of study have shown that nerve damage is indirectly linked to depression and anxiety. In fact, randomized testing showed that it has anti-depressant properties that are comparable to drugs used to treat the condition. In fact, it showed lesser adverse reactions from subjects compared to patients using anti-anxiety medications such as imipramine, fluoxetine, and citalopram.
4. Provides Neuroprotection
Because it contains picrocrocin, crocin, and safranal, scientists believe that saffron can provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases. According to a study conducted on mice, crocin in saffron can prohibit apoptosis or cell death. Its safranal contents have also been studied and proven beneficial for rehabilitation of nerve injury when administered with Vitamin E.
However, it is worth noting that these studies are conducted on animals only and haven’t been tested on humans suffering from neuropathy. Thus, the benefits of saffron for nerve damage patients still require further research.