Aim of the study
This study assessed the effect of saffron as a neuroprotective natural product in cerebral ischemia in human.
Patients with acute ischemic
were randomly allocated to receive either routine stroke care (control group, n = 20) or routine care plus aqueous extract of saffron
(200 mg/day) (saffron-treated group, n = 19). Both groups were monitored during their four-day hospital stay and the three-month follow-up period. The groups were compared in terms of short- and long-term effects of saffron capsules using the National Institute of Health Stoke Scale (NIHSS), Barthel Scale, and serum
neuron specific enolase
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
(BDNF), S100 levels.
Based on the NIHSS, the severity of stroke during the first four days was significantly lower in the saffron-treated group than in the control group (P < 0.05). Compared to the levels on the first day, serum NSE and s100 levels were significantly decreased and
concentration was increased in the saffron-treated group on the fourth day. Also, our results showed there was a negative significant non-linear cubic regression between BDNF concentration and score of NIHSS. At the end of the three-month follow-up period, the mean
was significantly higher in the saffron-treated group than in the control group (P < 0.001).
The results of this study confirmed the short and long-term neuroprotective effects of aqueous extract of saffron on ischemic stroke in humans.