saffron as effective as Prozac for postpartum depression

Women who experience postpartum depression are condemned to feel down when they should be enjoying one of the happiest times of their lives. About 15% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression.

Saffron is one of the most important and promising herbs for depression. If it could help women with postpartum depression, that would be important, because the commonly used treatments—like Prozac—have many significant side effects. Prozac can also be transported from mother to infant through breastfeeding and can cause colic, drowsiness and, perhaps, decreased weight gain in the baby. . . .

In this double-blind study, 64 mothers suffering through mild to moderate postpartum depression were given either 20mg of Prozac (fluoxetine) twice a day or 15mg of saffron.

At the end of the 6 week study, 18.8% of the saffron group and 21.9% of the Prozac group were in remission, meaning that they now had a score on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale of less than 7. 40.6% of the saffron group and 50% of the Prozac group were responders, meaning that their depression improved by 50% or more. All the women were responders, meaning that their depression improved b y 25-50%. Despite the slight differences in results, none of those differences were significant, meaning that the saffron was as effective as Prozac.

Though the difference in adverse effects in the mothers was not significant, the ones on Prozac did suffer more headaches, dry mouth, daytime drowsiness, constipation and sweating. The researchers don’t seem to have measured the adverse effects in the infants.

The researchers concluded that saffron is safe for women suffering from postpartum depression and that it is as effective as Prozac.

For a comprehensive review of the research on saffron for depression, see our feature article on saffron in HerbalGram. You can access the article from here.

Pharmacopsychiatry 2017;50(2):64-68

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 is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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