The plant is bulbous and has been cultivated for millennia. It does not grow a plant, its proliferation is achieved through the bulbs, and it also features characteristic flowers of pale violet color. Crocus comes from Greece and the Middle East but is mainly grown in Spain. The process of its collection is delicate, as it is traditionally collected by hand. After the separation of the pods it is spread over silk nets and is carefully dried over charcoal.
Crocus is used as a sedative anticonvulsant, as a emmenagogue for menstrual cycle disorders, and because of its particularly long-standing presence in pharmaceutics, over 90 special uses have been proposed. Based on clinical studies, Crocus has been shown to be associated with increased cognitive capacity in Alzheimer's cases and after systematic multi-day intake (Akhondzadeh, et al., 2010).
According to mythology, Crocus was a young lover of the nymph Smilakos, who was transformed into the homonymous plant by god Hermes, who accidentally killed him while throwing the discus. Crocus is found in texts of Hippocrates, Asclepius, Dioscourides, Galinos and other doctors of antiquity as a medicinal or therapeutic herb. In Ancient Greece, Crocus was known for its medicinal and aphrodisiac properties while it was used in cosmetics, as a perfume and coloring substance.
Its 'poles' contain typical carotenoids, crocins (crocin, picrocrocin) and this is the reason for its distinct orange color. The aroma and flavor of Crocus is owed to picrocrocin, a compound of glycoside and sapharnal, a monoterpene aldehyde. The compounds pinen and quinole have also been identified.
- Akhondzadeh, S., Shaffiee Sabet, M., Harirchian, M., Togha, M., Cheaghmakani, H., Razeghi, S., . . . Vossoughi, A. (2010). A 22-week multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Crocus sativus in the tratment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Psychopharmacology, 637-643.
- Akhonzadeh, S., Shafiee-Sabet, M., Harirchian, M. H., Tgha, M., Cheraghmakani, H., Razeghi, S., . . . Moradi, A. (2010). Crocus in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a 16-week, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 581-588.
- Samuelsson, G. (2004). ΦΑΡΜΑΚΕΥΤΙΚΑ ΠΡΟΪΟΝΤΑ ΦΥΣΙΚΗΣ ΠΡΟΕΛΕΥΣΗΣ. (Π. Κορδοπάτης, Έ. Μάνεση – Ζούπα, & Γ. Πάιρας, Trans.) ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΟ: ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΑΚΕΣ ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΚΡΗΤΗΣ.
- Ιστορική & Λαογραφική διάσταση των αρωματικών φυτών “Re.Herb”. (2014). Πάτρα: ΕΠΤΑΛΟΦΟΣ.