In a recent pre-clinical study (using Wistar rat pups)  researchers showed that Crocus sativus stigmas (saffron) extract prevented selenium-induced cataractogenesis in vivo. The possible protective mechanism of saffron was also reported in this study.


The mean activities of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and glutathione levels in the isolated lenses were significantly increased in group receiving saffron.

Saffron significantly prevented selenite-induced lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and proteolysis and insolubilization of the lens as tested by the water-soluble fraction (WSF) of lens proteins.

Conclusion: According to the authors of this study: “Saffron prevented selenite-induced cataract formation in Wistar rats, possibly through the reinforcement of antioxidant status, reduction of the intensity of lipid peroxidation, protection of the sulfhydryl groups, and inhibition of proteolysis of the lens WSF. These findings highlight the anticataractogenic potential of saffron by virtue of its antioxidant property”.




Makri OE, Ferlemi AV, Lamari FN, Georgakopoulos CD. (2013). Saffron administration prevents selenite-induced cataractogenesis. Mol Vis. 19:1188-97.