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Saffron (Crocus sativus) Aqueous Extract and its Constituent Crocin Reduces Stress-induced Anorexia in Mice


H. Sahraei, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Baqiyatallah (a.s.) University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 19395-6558, Tehran, Iran.



In the present study, the effects of an ethanol and aqueous extract of saffron Crocus sativus and its constituents safranal and crocin on the stress-induced reduction in food intake, weight gain and anorexic time in mice were investigated. Male albino mice (20–25 g) were irregularly exposed to a trial of electroshock stress for 7 days. Then, the anorexic time as well as the animal's food intake and weight were recorded. In addition, blood samples were obtained on days 1 and 7 for corticosterone determination. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of the aqueous but not the ethanol extract (10, 50 and 100 mg/kg) significantly reduced the anorexic time. The results were similar for crocin (1, 5 and 10 mg/kg; i.p.). In addition, a reduction in weight gain was observed in the controls as well as in the groups that received alcohol extract or safranal. However, this was not observed in animals treated with aqueous extract or crocin. The plasma corticosterone level did not increase in the aqueous extract and crocin treated animals. It can be concluded that the saffron aqueous extract and its constituent crocin reduce side effects of electroshock stress in mice. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.