Saffron For ADHD: Can It Help?

Saffron For ADHD: Can It Help?

For those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), some prefer natural remedies to traditional medications. While a number of herbs have made a name of themselves, many are looking to saffron for ADHD.

Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at saffron while exploring its benefits and risks. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.

What is Saffron?

Saffron is the extract from the autumn crocus flower which is harvested in a dried and often powdered state. It’s a spice to flavor foods as well as a dye to color certain foods.

The extract is often cultivated in Iran, Spain, France, Italy, as well as certain parts of India. Saffron is also one of the world’s most expensive spices to export as it contains essential oil which makes it vital in producing certain naturally sourced supplements. ¹

How Does Saffron Work in the Body? 

Many have touted positive health benefits from routinely taking saffron, including improvements in digestive health, as a catalyst to boosting mood and – most notably for our purposes here – increasing attention and maintaining focus. However, how does saffron accomplish these functions within the body? 

To answer that question we have to understand the makeup of saffron and how those chemicals each contribute to the specific bodily functions listed above. For improvements in digestive health, saffron is shown to increase blood flow which increases digestive activity while also providing therapeutic aid for specific digestive complications such as irritable bowel disorder,  gastritis, and peptic ulcers. ² 

Saffron has also been discussed for its ability to uplift mood which does hold some credence. It’s shown to increase dopamine production and research into the overall effects on mood and its impact on psychological conditions like anxiety and depression has yielded positive results. ³

How does saffron work in the body?

Can You Use Saffron for ADHD?

So, understanding how saffron is improving overall health, including being a relaxant for an overstimulated nervous system, the question remains: Can you use saffron for ADHD?

Saffron has been questioned as a possible supplementary treatment option for a while. Several studies have come out with some interesting insights into how the natural ingredient works with those that have ADHD.

What Does the Research Say?

Most of the research regarding saffron for ADHD has been promising. There has been a link between reduced hyperactivity with the administering of saffron extract. Saffron does have therapeutic properties for the nervous system and has been shown to calm brain activity, it could be a homeopathic treatment option. 

The claims about attention improvements from saffron use are not unwarranted. There’s evidence to show that saffron has a major impact on the central nervous system and how said system interacts with the brain. ⁴ Saffron can create a calming and therapeutic response within an overactive nervous system which can cause frantic activity within the brain, resulting in altered brain chemistry as well as hyperactive behavior. ⁵

One study that was done for children with ADHD showed that saffron was as effective as methylphenidate (Ritalin). ⁶ However, most clinicians have administered saffron in conjunction with prescription medications for ADHD, such as Ritalin.

How to Use Saffron for ADHD

Taking less than 100mg of saffron is the safest option, as higher doses can lead to complications. Studies that linked saffron use and reduced ADHD symptoms cite a dose of 20mg to 30mg of the extract. It’s also strongly advised that one shouldn’t exceed 1.5 grams while taking saffron for daily use. 

For mental health complications such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD, 20mg is a good starting amount. If symptoms don’t improve it is best to discuss it with a clinician about possibly increasing the dose to 30mg to 50mg.

Can you use saffron for ADHD?

Saffron Safety & Side Effects

As with any treatment option, whether it’s prescription medications or holistic natural supplements and extracts, it’s always wise to understand the risks and side effects. For saffron, the side effects are typically mild in relatively healthy people and include: ⁷

  • Dizziness 
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Increased/decreased appetite 
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability

However, the real risks of saffron use start to come into play when one takes it in large doses. As stated previously, the average maximum amount of saffron deemed safe to take is no more than 1.5 grams. Taking more than 1.5 grams can create real complications, such as: 

  • Overwhelming nausea 
  • Disorientation 
  • Vomiting 
  • Blood in urine 
  • Bloody stool

Furthermore, saffron is not for newly pregnant women, mothers who breastfeed, and those that are taking blood pressure or blood thinning medications. For pregnant women in their first trimester, saffron use increases stimulation of the uterus, resulting in miscarriage. ⁸ For those on blood pressure or thinner medications, saffron use in conjunction with such medications can cause a dramatic drop in blood levels. ⁹

Can You Take Saffron with Adderall?

So, if it’s safe to take saffron with Ritalin, you may also wonder if it’s safe to take with Adderall.

There haven’t been many clinical studies to prove it’s a safe alternative to Adderall or that administering saffron extract can enhance the former’s effect. Though, there also haven’t been warnings or cases showing that replacing or taking saffron with Adderall can cause dramatic issues. 

The most advisable solution is to ask your clinician to see if that’s the right move to make. Everyone is different and our individual reactions to certain supplements and medications differ.

Saffron for ADHD Reviews

Now that we have some insight into how saffron works in the body and how it can aid those with ADHD, it’s best to look into some of the best products for saffron supplements. There are many options to choose from when it comes to trying to find saffron extracts – however, to simplify the search we have provided the top three options. These are the best options by the most reputable manufacturers. 

Swanson Superior Herbs

Swanson Superior Herbs have been around since 1969. They have a unique process for ensuring top-of-the-line quality as well as assurances that their ingredients are properly effective. As for their selection for saffron extracts, Swanson recommends:

Swanson Superior Herbs Saffron Extract

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Price: $17.99 per bottle

Pros:

  • 30mg measured doses per capsule. 
  • 60 capsules to a bottle giving the customer a 60-day (2 Month) supply
  • Vegan and Non-GMO formula  

Cons:

  • Free shipping on orders of only $50 and only ships within the United States

NOW Supplements

NOW Supplements is one of the largest and most recognized supplement manufacturers and distributors. They create supplements containing all-natural as well as sustainably sourced ingredients. They’re a family-owned company that creates affordably priced products for everyone can take.

For saffron, NOW Supplements provides the following option:

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Price: $33.99 per bottle

Pros:

  • 50mg measured doses per capsule. 
  • 60 capsules to a bottle giving the customer a 60-day (2 Month) supply
  • Vegan and Non-GMO formula  

Cons:

  • Free shipping on orders of only $50 and only ships within the United States

Life Extension

Life Extension is a recognizable and trusted supplement company in the industry. They have been around for more than 40 years and are located and manufacture their products within the United States. For saffron, Life Extension recommends:

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Price: $26.99 per bottle

Pros:

  • 88mg measured doses per capsule. 
  • 60 capsules to a bottle giving the customer a 60-day (2 Month) supply
  • Vegan and Non-GMO formula  

Cons:

  • Free shipping on orders of only $50 and only ships within the United States

Final Word

These days our attention is always being divided and pulled from every direction – so, for those with ADHD, this frustrating reality is a constant battle that needs to be waged every day.

It’s understandable that those who suffer from ADHD would like to turn to a natural and therapeutic treatment option such as saffron. It may be that saffron is the right choice, given its properties to quell hyperactivity in the brain as well as calm an overstimulated nervous system. 

Always talk to your medical team, including physicians as well as mental health professionals, to ensure that saffron is the right fit. Those that have ADHD should have the ability to look at any and all treatment options that offer relief. 

Your Questions

Do you still have questions about anxiety fatigue? 

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources

¹ Encyclopedia Brittanica: Saffron

² National Center for Biotechnical Information: Saffron – The Golden Spice with Therapeutic Properties on Digestive Diseases

³ National Center for Biotechnical Information: Effects of Saffron Extract Supplementation on Mood

⁴ Frontiers in Pharmacology: Neuroprotective Potency of Saffron Against Neuropsychiatric Diseases

⁵ Science Direct Studies: Neuroprotective effects of saffron on the late cerebral ischemia

⁶ National Center for Biotechnical Information: Crocus sativus L. Versus Methylphenidate in Treatment of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

⁷ RxList: Saffron – Dosing & Uses

⁸ National Center for Biotechnical Information: Effect of Saffron (Fan Hong Hua) On the Readiness of The Uterine Cervix In Term Pregnancy

⁹ National Center for Biotechnical Information: Effect of Saffron Supplementation on Blood Pressure in Adults

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