Crocin (Saffron): Health Benefits, Anti-Aging (Fact Checked)


Saffron is a spice that is highly prized for its flavor, aroma, and vibrant color. It is also known for its medicinal properties, and one of the compounds responsible for these health benefits is Crocin.

In this article, we will provide an overview of Crocin, its chemical structure, sources, medicinal properties, mechanism of action, clinical applications, side effects, and precautions.

What is Crocin?

Crocin is a carotenoid compound that is responsible for the red color of saffron. It is a water-soluble pigment that is found in the stigmas of the saffron flower (Crocus sativus).

Crocin is a glycoside, which means that it is composed of a sugar molecule (glucose) and a non-sugar molecule (crocetin). It is a powerful antioxidant and has been found to have a range of health benefits.

Saffron Crocus, Autumn Crocus, Crocus Sativus. Source:

Sources of Crocin

Saffron is the primary source of Crocin, and it is extracted from the stigmas of the saffron flower.

Anatomy of Saffron flower and Saffron Stigmas
Anatomy of Saffron flower and Saffron Stigmas

The process of extracting Crocin involves grinding the dried stigmas into a powder and then steeping it in hot water.

The water extracts the Crocin, which can then be isolated and purified.

Saffron is an expensive spice, and the price is primarily due to the labor-intensive process of extracting the stigmas. It takes approximately 75,000 saffron flowers to produce just one pound of saffron spice. [1]

Crocin & Anti-Aging

Crocin has also been studied for its potential in anti-aging. As an antioxidant, Crocin helps to protect cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which are major contributors to the aging process.

Below are studies that prove that Crocin is a prominent Anti-aging supplement – now know by many.

A study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that crocin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could help prevent skin aging.

The study looked at how crocin affects normal human skin cells grown in a lab and found that it can protect against damage from reactive oxygen species and UVA radiation, as well as reduce inflammation.

Crocin was also found to affect gene expression and glycosylation pathways in the skin cells. Overall, the results suggest that crocin could be a promising ingredient in cosmetics aimed at preventing skin aging.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Reverse Aging in Humans
Image by Landon | Production on YouTube

In another study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, the anti-aging effects of crocin were tested in mice.

The mice were given d-galactose, a substance that induces aging, for 42 days, and then treated with different doses of crocin.

Results showed that d-galactose increased lipid peroxidation and inflammation while decreasing male sex hormone levels. However, crocin treatment reduced oxidative stress and inflammation while increasing male sex hormone levels, suggesting its potential as an anti-aging agent.

Another study, this time by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pondicherry University, India found that crocin protects against oxidative damage in biological systems.

More specifically, middle-aged rats were given oral supplementation of Crocin for 45 days. The results showed that Crocin reduced serum triglycerides, reversed macromolecular damage in the brain, increased endogenous antioxidants, and improved cholinergic and mitochondrial function.

These findings suggest that Crocin could be beneficial in delaying the aging process and improving cognitive function.

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Crocin Health Benefits

Crocin has been found to have a range of health benefits – apart from its anti-aging properties, including:

1. Antioxidant properties

Crocin is a powerful antioxidant and can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that can cause cellular damage and contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

By neutralizing free radicals, Crocin can help to reduce the risk of these diseases.

Read Also: Top 50 Best Antioxidant Foods And Herbs List

2. Anti-inflammatory properties

Crocin has anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it can help to reduce inflammation in the body. [2]

Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of a range of diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

By reducing inflammation, Crocin can help to improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Read Also: Consume These Amazing 21 Anti-Inflammatory Foods And Fight Achy Muscles, Sore Joints, etc.

3. Anti-cancer properties

Crocin has been found to have anti-cancer properties and has been studied for its potential in the prevention and treatment of cancer. [3] [4]

In laboratory studies, Crocin has been found to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells and to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. [5] [6]

4. Fights Depression

Crocin has been studied for its potential in the treatment of depression.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that Crocin was effective in reducing symptoms of depression in patients with major depressive disorder. The study found that Crocin was well-tolerated and had no significant side effects. [7]

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5. May Treat Alzheimer’s disease

Crocin has been studied for its potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as well.

In animal studies, Crocin has been found to improve cognitive function and reduce oxidative stress in the brain.

More specifically, a study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, aimed to investigate the effects of crocin on brain function in a rat model of aging induced by D-galactose.

Results showed that crocin improved spatial learning and memory, reduced oxidative stress, and decreased the formation of inflammatory mediators in the brain.

It also increased the activity of important signaling pathways involved in cell survival and growth. These findings suggest that crocin may be a promising natural product to prevent age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

6. May treat Glaucoma

In a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, researchers investigated how crocin can protect retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from oxidative stress, which can lead to glaucoma and irreversible blindness.

Using an in vitro model of glaucoma, the study found that crocin protected RGCs by decreasing cell death, decreasing levels of reactive oxygen species, and activating the NF-κB pathway.

The results suggest that crocin could be a potential treatment for glaucoma.

How It Works?

The exact mechanism of action of Crocin is not fully understood, but it is thought to work by a number of different mechanisms.

One of the main ways that Crocin works is by reducing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is a condition that occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them.

By reducing oxidative stress, Crocin can help to protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Crocin has also been found to modulate the expression of certain genes involved in inflammation and apoptosis.

By regulating the expression of these genes, Crocin can help to reduce inflammation and induce cell death in cancer cells.


Crocin is a carotenoid compound found in saffron that has been found to have a range of medicinal properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

While further research is needed to fully understand the potential of Crocin, it shows promise as a potential treatment for a range of different diseases as well as Anti-aging.

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