World’s Costliest Spice Is Cheapest Replacement for Antidepressants

It’s well-documented that the incidence of depression can rise around retirement age. One 8-year study showed that “the presence of active depression significantly increased the hazard of retirement in both late middle-aged men … and women.”

The study maintained that “Despite the wide availability of effective and cost-effective treatments for depression, there is poor penetration of adequate treatment to those likely to reap its benefits.”

In other words, depression increases the difficulty of retirement and depression often goes untreated. There are many reasons people may not seek treatment: social stigma, expense, side-effects of medications….

But, recent studies have revealed that this easily obtained spice may be just as effective as antidepressants.

Copyright: madllen - 123RF Stock PhotoThe spice is saffron and it’s the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is derived from the crocus flower (Crocus sativus) grown originally in Southeast Asia. It comes from the stigma of the flower and it takes 75,000 flowers to produce just a single pound of the spice.

So saffron, compared to other spices, is pricey. But antidepressants aren’t cheap either, and untreated depression is far too costly for all of us. Reports say that, in the United States alone, depression is associated with the loss of tens of billions of dollars each year.

But there is very good evidence that saffron may offer an effective alternative.

A paper published this year analyzed data from six studies that tested saffron for use with depression.

The study, by Lopresti and Drummond, found very promising results:

“In the placebo-comparison trials, saffron had large treatment effects….”

Another analysis from the University of Florida, also confirmed the effectiveness of saffron: “A large effect size was found for saffron supplementation vs placebo control in treating depressive symptoms….”

In other words, both studies found saffron to be superior to placebos in treating depression.

More importantly, the data in both analyses revealed no difference between the effectiveness of saffron and the effectiveness of the antidepressants tested! interviewed Dr. Lopresti regarding these results:

Lopresti commented, “What’s been found in the literature over the last ten years is that people with depression have high levels of inflammation and free radical damage associated with oxidative stress.”

Saffron contains substances that treat these issues.

But, if saffron is so expensive, can you afford it?

This is the best news of all – it takes very little saffron to treat depression!

According to, Lopresti’s review determined that a dosage of 15mg of saffron taken twice a day was sufficient. Online sources show 2 gram tins of saffron for as little as $12.50. Two grams is 2000mg, more than two month’s worth at the recommended dosage!

Editor’s Alert: Is your diet making you sick? Find out how you can reclaim your health.