Persian spice saffron may hold potential treatment for MS

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Persian spice saffron may hold potential treatment for MS

Postby MSUK » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:58 am

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An active ingredient in the Persian spice saffron may be used to treat diseases involving neuroinflammation, such as multiple sclerosis, according to Medical researchers at the University of Alberta.

"We found there is a compound in saffron, known as crocin, that exerts a protective effect in brain cell cultures and other models of MS. It prevented damage to cells that make myelin in the brain," said researcher Chris Power of the University.

"Myelin is insulation around nerves. MS is characterized by inflamed brain cells that have lost this protective insulation, which ultimately leads to neurodegeneration," he explained.

Power noted they are not close to a clinical trial stage yet, but the finding is still exciting.... Read More - http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseact ... ageid/1398
Last edited by MSUK on Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MS-UK - http://www.ms-uk.org/
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Re: Persian spice saffron holds potential treatment for MS

Postby lyndacarol » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:40 pm

I'm not sure I give much credence to this "discovery" about saffron – I assume this is the same expensive spice, harvested from crocuses, used often in Scandinavia, where by the way, the prevalence of MS is VERY high.
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Re: Persian spice saffron holds potential treatment for MS

Postby CureOrBust » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:56 pm

I personally think may have some merit, but will not be holding my breath for it coming out too soon. Saffron as a spice is very "powerful" in that not much is physically used, it also is touted as being a spice more expensive than gold (by weight). So I am guessing no-one is getting a therapeutic dose from a meal. I would guess there is only a tiny amount of "crocin" in saffron, and it will head down the route of FTY720 (from mushrooms)
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Re: Persian spice saffron holds potential treatment for MS

Postby NHE » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:08 pm

CureOrBust wrote:I personally think may have some merit, but will not be holding my breath for it coming out too soon. Saffron as a spice is very "powerful" in that not much is physically used, it also is touted as being a spice more expensive than gold (by weight).


Saffron consists of the dried stigmas of the crocus flower (Crocus sativus) which are harvested by hand. Crocin is a carotenoid pigment in saffron though I'm not certain at this time of the % weight of crocin in saffron. I can get saffron from my local market for about $10/gram. A while back (for other reasons) I did a search of an online database of recipes using saffron and found about 35 recipes (out of about 90) that stated a specific amount of saffron and number of servings. Most recipes called for about 30 strands yielding a per serving amount of about 1/7 of a teaspoon. However, measuring saffron can be somewhat confusing as some recipes call for a certain number of strands and others call for a specific volume, e.g., 0.5-1.0 teaspoons. What makes it uncertain is that they don't indicate if the stated volume of saffron is ground or not and the difference in volume between ground saffron and whole strands is considerable. 30 strands of saffron broken up is much less than an eighth of a teaspoon. An additional complication is that crocin has two ester bonds in its molecular structure and saliva contains an esterase which could hydrolyze these bonds changing the crocin into another molecule called crocetin (simple stomach acid could also hydrolyze the ester bonds).

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Re: Persian spice saffron holds potential treatment for MS

Postby NHE » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:44 am

The abstract that the news item references...

Neuroinflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress are coregulated by crocin to prevent demyelination and neurodegeneration.
J Immunol. 2011 Nov 1;187(9):4788-99.

    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a homeostatic mechanism, which is used by cells to adapt to intercellular and intracellular changes. Moreover, ER stress is closely linked to inflammatory pathways. We hypothesized that ER stress is an integral component of neuroinflammation and contributes to the development of neurological diseases. In autopsied brain specimens from multiple sclerosis (MS) and non-MS patients, XBP-1 spliced variant (XBP-1/s) was increased in MS brains (p < 0.05) and was correlated with the expression of the human endogenous retrovirus-W envelope transcript, which encodes the glycoprotein, Syncytin-1 (p < 0.05). In primary human fetal astrocytes transfected with a Syncytin-1-expressing plasmid, XBP-1/s, BiP, and NOS2 were induced, which was suppressed by crocin treatment (p < 0.05). Crocin also protected oligodendrocytes exposed to cytotoxic supernatants derived from Syncytin-1-expressing astrocytes (p < 0.05) and NO-mediated oligodendrocytotoxicity (p < 0.05). During experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the transcript levels of the ER stress genes XBP-1/s, BiP, PERK, and CHOP were increased in diseased spinal cords compared with healthy littermates (p < 0.05), although CHOP expression was not involved in the EAE disease phenotype. Daily treatment with crocin starting on day 7 post-EAE induction suppressed ER stress and inflammatory gene expression in spinal cords (p < 0.05), which was accompanied by preserved myelination and axonal density, together with reduced T cell infiltration and macrophage activation. EAE-associated neurobehavioral deficits were also ameliorated by crocin treatment (p < 0.05). These findings underscored the convergent roles of pathogenic ER stress and immune pathways in neuroinflammatory disease and point to potential therapeutic applications for crocin.
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Re: Persian spice saffron holds potential treatment for MS

Postby NHE » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:49 am

Some interesting notes about saffron...

http://www.florafmd.com/flora/home/Cana ... affron.htm

Suggested Amount:
Saffron is generally used as a spice in cooking or as an ingredient of Swedish Bitters. The maximum daily dose of saffron is 1.5 grams. Caution: Large doses of saffron can be lethal (see Side Effects below). For medicinal purposes, it is recommended to seek the supervision of a trained physician when using saffron.

Side Effects:
No side effects are known at the recommended dosages. However, saffron is highly toxic when taken in larger amounts. Overdose with 5g causes serious side effects including: vomiting, uterine bleeding, bloody diarrhea, haematuria, nose bleeding and several other serious symptoms. At 10 g saffron acts as an abortifacient. The lethal dosage for saffron is 20g.
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