Periods may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of saffron—the potent, priceless stigmas from delicate purple flowers. You may know it as a precious ingredient in Middle Eastern, Indian, or Mediterranean dishes like saffron rice or paella. And you may know these pretty threads can cost a pretty penny.
But you may not know that saffron is also precious to period health, and offers multi-symptom relief from some of the most common period problems. The mighty herb has been carefully studied in people with periods for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)—an umbrella term for the cluster of physical and emotional symptoms that can happen around your period. While many PMS symptoms are possible, saffron addresses some of the most troublesome.
Here are the top benefits of saffron for periods, reported straight from the science.
1. Saffron is a powerful period mood lifter
It contains special plant compounds that naturally tweak brain chemistry and lift the mood. Saffron supplements have gone head-to-head with antidepressant medication in multiple clinical studies, and performed as well as those drugs for relieving depressive symptoms, but with less risk of dependence.* While the goal of supplements should never be to cure, treat, or prevent any disease, including depression, this research supports saffron's historical use across cultures as a powerful mood-lifter. Researchers think saffron soothes sour period moods by helping to make serotonin—a ‘happy chemical’ in the brain.
2. Saffron helps control period cravings
Saffron has been clinically studied in people trying to manage their appetite, and was shown to have satiating properties that helped control cravings. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial (our favorite kind of trial 🤓), the herb helped healthy women snack less frequently, feel fuller longer, and even lose weight.
3. Saffron may relieve period cramps
Saffron has been shown to have a relaxing effect on smooth muscles—the kind of muscles that your uterus is made of. Because period cramps happen when the muscles in the uterus contract, saffron may help prevent period pain by calming these muscles.
It may also help relieve period cramps by boosting the flow of oxygen to the uterus. Uterine muscles can contract so tightly during menstruation, they pinch off the blood vessels that supply the uterus with the oxygen. The uterus needs oxygen to function properly, and when oxygen is in short supply, it’s painful. That pain is a period cramp. Saffron has been shown to increase the speed at which oxygen flows throughout the body, helping more of it reach your uterus faster.
While most of the research on saffron for period cramps has been done in animals, one study tested it in menstruating humans. Researchers found this herb was even more effective than over-the-counter painkillers at relieving period cramps, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
Is saffron safe for periods?
Very! Saffron has an awesome safety profile when consumed in reasonable amounts, like the amounts you’d get from food or reputable supplements. It can be unsafe if you’re allergic, or if you consume it in very large amounts. Thankfully, only about 30 milligrams a day is needed to effectively relieve period problems. Research shows you’d need to take more than 10 times this dose to cause any side effects.
Saffron has been studied in people across various life stages, from preteens and teens, to women with postpartum depression, to post-menopausal women. It was shown to be helpful for physical and emotional symptoms in all these groups, so it’s safe and effective no matter where you are in your reproductive journey.
Find saffron in Steady Mood
Because we’re so obsessed with saffron, it’s no surprise we included it in Steady Mood—our daily multivitamin for PMS mood swings and stress. Here’s why the saffron in Steady Mood is not your average saffron.
For us, it’s clinically proven or bust. Each serving of Steady Mood offers the exact same dose and form of saffron that was shown to be effective for period symptoms in clinical studies.
Saffron is powerful alone, but saffron and rhodiola may be the ultimate herbal dream team for PMS. One study looked at this duo in combination, and found depression and anxiety symptoms significantly improved,* suggesting some herbal synergy between these two powerhouse plants. Find rhodiola in Steady Mood as well, in nearly the same dose that was used in that study.
More ingredients = more benefits
Saffron isn’t the only natural ingredient with profound benefits for periods. De Lune makes menstrual health supplements that target period cramps and PMS using high-potency blends of all the best evidence-based nutrients and herbs, each tackling different period problems using different modes of action. The result? Full-cycle support for your full picture of period health.
This information is for educational purposes only and is neither intended to nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.