Active Ingredient History

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Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". Crocin is a water-soluble carotenoid pigment of saffron,that has been used as a spice for flavoring and coloring food preparations, and in Chinese traditional medicine as an anodyne or tranquilizer. Saffron is now used worldwide in folk medicine and is reputed to be useful in treating various human disorders such as heart and blood disorders. Stroke and heart attack are involved in reputed folkloric uses of saffron. Saffron is orally administrated as a decoction. Saffron extract exerts a protective effect on renal ischemia reperfusion induced oxidative damage in rats. Crocin suppresses tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha-induced apoptosis of pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells by modulating mRNA expressions of Bcl-2 family proteins, which trigger downstream signals culminating in caspase-3 activation followed by cell death. Depriving cultured PC12 cells of serum/glucose causes a rapid increase in cellular ceramide levels, followed by an increase in the risk of cell death. The accumulation of ceramide was found to depend on the activation of neutral sphingomyelinase (nSMase). Crocin prevented the activation of nSMase by enhancing the transcription of gamma-glutamylcysteinyl synthase, which contributes to a stable glutathione supply that blocks the activity of nSMase.   NCATS

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