top of page

Health Benefits of


Saffron, also called Crocus sativus, is a medicinal plant grown in India, Afghanistan, and European countries in proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. The biologically active components of saffron are safranal and crocin. Oral and topical uses of saffron are essential for the treatment of different medical conditions. [1] The health benefits of topical application of saffron are listed down below. 


Anti-Wrinkle Property of Saffron

The saffron extract contains carotenoids including crocin and crocetin, polyphenols, and polyphenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties. This helps saffron protect the skin from oxidative stress and neutralizes the free radicals and reactive oxygen species. This also delays the aging process and maintains the integrity of the extracellular matrix in the dermis of the skin. Hence, saffron conceals the visible signs of aging by reducing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. It also strengthens the skin barrier, reduces transepidermal water loss, and keeps the skin hydrated. [2]

Photoprotective Effects of Saffron

Safranal is a metabolite obtained from saffron, that has anti-solar and antioxidant properties. Safranal protects the skin from UV-induced damage and also prevents the formation of reactive oxygen species upon radiation exposure. Safranal inhibits the activity of matrix metalloproteinase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of extracellular matrix in the dermis of the skin. [3]


Figure 2 represents the effects of topical saffron application on transepidermal water loss (Graph A) and skin hydration (Graph B).    

Saffron for Healing Burn Wounds

The components of saffron including crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin, and safranal are capable of eliminating inflammatory mediators at the wound site and accelerating the recovery of the wound. Saffron also reduces the duration of healing and also prevents superimposed infections at the site of the burn wound. [5]

Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Properties of Saffron

Saffron serves as a potent antioxidant that provides protection against cancer. The component that has antioxidant and antiproliferative properties is called crocin. The antioxidant effect of crocin protects the cellular DNA from oxidative damage and reduces the risk of cancer. [4]

Saffron Treats Hyperpigmentation 

Crocetin is a biologically active component of saffron. Crocetin inhibits the gene expression and activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of melanin. Inhibition of tyrosinase also reduces melanin production. This aids in the lightening of the skin and decreases the risk of hyperpigmentation. [6]

Anti-Aging Property of Saffron

Inflammatory changes and oxidative stress tend to make the skin susceptible to premature aging. Crocin in saffron impairs the signaling of inflammatory cells and promotes the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes in the skin. Crocin also prevents UV-induced squalene peroxidation in the skin. All of these effects tend to reduce the visible signs of aging and keep the skin young and healthy. [7]


bottom of page