Listed in Issue 198


FUKIU and COLLEAGUES, Department of Education, Nara University of Education, Nara, Japan.  studied the effects of saffron odour upon women’s symptoms of PMS, menstrual pain and irregular menstruation.


The purpose of this study was to clarify the effects of saffron odour on symptoms unique to women, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhoea (menstrual pain) and irregular menstruation.


Thirty-five women with a normal sense of smell were exposed to saffron odour for 20 min. Saliva samples were then collected to measure levels of cortisol (C), testosterone (T) and 17-beta oestradiol (E) by enzyme immunoassay, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was administered as a psychological test.


Saffron odour significantly decreased C levels after short-term stimulation (20 min) in both follicular and luteal phases. E level after exposure to saffron odour was increased in both the follicular- and luteal-phase groups. STAI score decreased in the follicular and luteal phases in the saffron group.


The present findings support the existence of physiological and psychological effects of saffron odour in women. Our results indicate that saffron odour exert some effects in the treatment of PMS, dysmenorrhoea and irregular menstruation. This is the first report to suggest that saffron odour may be effective in treating menstrual distress.


Fukui H, Toyoshima K and Komaki R. Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus). Source Phytomedicine. 18(8-9): 726-30. Jun 15 2011.

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