AUSTIN, Texas (April 6, 2020) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) welcomes the adoption of saffron (Crocus sativus) by Madrid, Spain-based Pharmactive Biotech Products through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb botanical research and education program.
Pharmactive’s adoption supports ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this unique research and educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry members, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplement and natural medicine communities.
HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 265 herbs, spices, medicinal plants, and fungi.
“Pharmactive is more than pleased to adopt one of the most fascinating and valued plants in the world,” said Pharmactive Founder and CEO Jean-Marie Raymond. “Saffron is helping millions of people around the world maintain a positive mood, manage anxiety, and get restorative sleep every day. The excellent safety profile of saffron makes it perfect for different stages of life, including the elderly and adolescents.”
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “ABC is deeply grateful to our friends at Pharmactive for adopting saffron on ABC’s powerful HerbMedPro database. Saffron is a traditional spice, often considered the most expensive in the world. The past decade has witnessed a virtual explosion of scientific and clinical research on the effects of saffron extracts on the human central nervous system, including its positive effects for people with mild-to-moderate depression. In fact, the emerging saffron research is so impressive that ABC published a review of the clinical literature in HerbalGram issue 110.”
Saffron is an an autumn-flowering perennial. The main part of the plant used medicinally is the dried stigma. With only three stigmas per plant, saffron is among the most expensive spices in the world, which makes economically motivated adulteration common. It is used as a food additive due to its aroma, color, and bitter taste, as well as in various systems of traditional medicine. It has not been reported in the wild and probably descends from wild saffron (C. cartwrightianus). The Crocus genus includes 85 known species, but C. sativus is favored for its medicinal properties.Saffron’s stigmas contain volatile and non-volatile compounds, including terpenes and their esters and carotenoids, all of which are responsible for saffron’s color and taste. The petals, which are used less often in medicinal preparations, contain glycosides of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol. Saffron has been used in the traditional medical practices of Egypt, Greece, India, and Persia, where it was used for respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, painful urination, and mood disorders.Modern applications of saffron focus largely on cognitive function and mood support, and some human clinical trials have compared the effects of saffron preparations to leading conventional pharmaceutical drugs used for Alzheimer’s disease and mild-to-moderate depression. Other promising areas of research for saffron extracts focus on its anti-inflammatory actions for reproductive health, glaucoma and macular degeneration, and weight loss and exercise.
Pharmactive Biotech Products, SL, is a privately owned company that develops and manufactures standardized natural ingredients that are supported by scientific evidence. The company prides itself on having high standards and dedicated research and development investment. Pharmactive states that it is the first company to introduce a standardized saffron extract for mood management. Pharmactive partners internationally with universities and research organizations to boost its research and development capabilities and generate new opportunities for its customers.Because of saffron’s demand and limited supply, Pharmactive takes active steps to ensure its customers receive an unadulterated product. Raymond noted: “The quality of the raw material and the extraction process are the keys to preserving the beneficial properties, and full control is the key to avoiding adulteration.” Pharmactive traces its extracts from field crops to in-house production.
About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro
Pharmactive is one of 65 US and international companies and organizations that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable traditional and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 73 herbs have been adopted.
Each adopted herb is researched continuously for new scientific articles and botanical, chemical, pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. Access to the studies is organized conveniently by publication type, with each study condensed to a one-sentence summary with a link to the study’s official abstract on PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s free-access database) or other publicly accessible database.
HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available to the general public at no cost, with access to 25-30 herb records from the larger HerbMedPro database. In keeping with ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.