Saffron (Croci stigma)

Published April 23, 1987.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Croci stigma, saffron.

Composition of Drug

Saffron consists of the stigmata, usually connected by a short piece of pistil, of Crocus sativa L. [Fam. Iridaceae], as well as preparations thereof.


Saffron is used as a sedative, for spasms and asthma.

The effectiveness of the herb for its claimed applications has not been documented.


Presently, no risks have been documented for a maximum daily dosage of 1.5 g. The lethal dosage is 20 g; the abortifacient dosage is 10 g.

From the administration of saffron as an abortifacient, the following effects have been observed:

Severe purpura after ingestion of 5 g of saffron (suspended in milk) with pitch black necrosis of the nose and a thrombocytopenia of 24,000, hypothrobinemia of 41 percent and severe collapse with uremia.

Additionally: bleeding of the uterus, bloody diarrhea, hematuria, bleeding from the nose, lips and eyelids, vertigo, dizziness, numbness. Yellowing of the sclera, skin and mucous membranes, a condition that may falsely imply icterus.