A Spicy Fix For Sexual Dysfunction?
Common but understandably under-researched due to privacy matters, sexual dysfunction is an issue that is especially prominent among those being treated for depression, due to a number of prescribed anti-depressants carrying unfortunate side-effects. One study consisting of 101 participants being treated for depression found 46.5% of those participants experienced sexual dysfunction.
A few years ago research emerged showing the spice saffron to be as equally effective in treating those who suffer from depression as Prozac; a recognised anti-depressant. Interestingly, it now appears that saffron can be of even more use in this field, with more recent scientific findings emerging that claim the spice can reduce the side-effects of regular anti-depressants.
More specifically, one advantage of saffron over anti-depressants if they are indeed as equally effective, is that they do not carry the adverse sexual side effects that around 70% of users of drugs such as Prozac have suffered from.
And it now seems that saffron can not only supposedly treat depression without inducing the side effects, but it may even be able to treat the side effect of sexual dysfunction for those who are on anti-depressants. In folk medicine there is a “widely held belief that saffron might have aphrodisiac effects”. In everyday terms, that means saffron is a food that is likely to increase your libido when consumed.
A study that saw a group of 36 married males who suffered from depression and sexual impairment from the drugs prescribed to treat their depression were randomly given either saffron or a placebo to take for a month. By week four, saffron resulted in “significantly greater improvement in erectile function and intercourse satisfaction than the placebo group”. 60% of the group on saffron regained normal function.
It seems saffron may safely and effectively improve some of the fluoxetine-induced sexual problems including arousal, lubrication, and pain [women being treated for depression experience.]
The sizeable amount of research into saffron suggests the spice certainly seems worth a shot before being prescribed more recognised anti-depressants. Similar research to those cited in this blog post have found that the adverse sexual side effects of anti-depressants like Prozac can continue even after an individual has stopped taking the medication. Though saffron can seemingly help to reduce these effects as has been explained in this post, the arguments made by the authors cited above is that it’s worth at least trying saffron initially in order to potentially avoid these effects altogether.
- Lee K-U, Lee YM, Nam J-M, et al. Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction among Newer Antidepressants in a Naturalistic Setting. Psychiatry Investigation. 2010;7(1):55-59. doi:10.4306/pi.2010.7.1.55.
- Higgins A, Nash M, Lynch AM. Antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction: impact, effects, and treatment. Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2010;2:141-50.
- Modabbernia A, Sohrabi H, Nasehi AA, Raisi F, Saroukhani S, Jamshidi A, Tabrizi M, Ashrafi M, Akhondzadeh S. Effect of saffron on fluoxetine-induced sexual impairment in men: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Oct;223(4):381-8.
- Kashani L, Raisi F, Saroukhani S, Sohrabi H, Modabbernia A, Nasehi AA, Jamshidi A, Ashrafi M, Mansouri P, Ghaeli P, Akhondzadeh S. Saffron for treatment of fluoxetine-induced sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jan;28(1):54-60.