Razi’s Al-Hawi and saffron (Crocus sativus): a review

Document Type: Review Article


1 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Traditional knowledge can be used as a source for development of new medicines. In the present study, we compare the data on saffron in Razi's Al-Hawi book with modern scientific studies. A computerized search of published articles was performed using MEDLINE, Scopus as well as native references. The search terms used were saffron, Crocus sativus, crocetin, crocin, safranal, Razi, and Al-Hawi. A variety of properties of saffron including diuretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, appetite suppressant, hypnotic, antidepressant, and bronchodilator effects were mentioned in Al-Hawi. Modern studies also confirmed most of these characteristics. This review indicates that the pharmacological data on saffron and its constituents are similar to those found in Razi’s Al-Hawi monograph and it can be concluded that ethnobotanical information and ancient sources have precious data about medicinal plants that lead to finding new compounds for treatment of several diseases.


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