Volunteers are needed for a study investigating a natural ingredient for the treatment of depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents

Saffron (the spice) has been shown in several studies to effectively reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults. We are now interested in learning the potential of this natural ingredient to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16 years.

This is an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This means that volunteers will take either saffron or placebo capsules for 8 weeks but will not be informed which capsules they are taking.

However, you will be informed at the end of the trial, and if your child has been placed on placebo capsules, you will be provided with ‘real’ saffron capsules for your child to try.

No travel is required for participation in this study!

In order to be included in the study, the following inclusion criteria must be met:
• Healthy male or female aged between 12 and 16 years
• Youth is suffering from mild-to-moderate depressive and/or anxiety (to be assessed by the researcher)
• Child is willing and able to take prescribed placebo/saffron capsules

If any of the exclusion criteria below is met, your child will not be suitable for participation in this study:
• Current or 12-month history in youth of any psychiatric disorder other than mild-to-moderate depression or anxiety disorder
• Child is engaging in self-harm behaviours and/or experiencing thoughts of suicide
• Child is currently taking any pharmaceutical medication, apart from the contraceptive pill and occasional use (no more than fortnightly) of pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen, Panadol).
• Child is currently undertaking, or planning to commence during the duration of the study, psychological treatment for depression, anxiety or other mental health disorder
• Child is currently taking saffron supplements and/or other specific herbal products
• Current or history of a clinically significant chronic medical condition including cardiovascular disease, organic brain disorder, seizure, diabetes
• Child currently abuses or is dependent on drugs
• Child has any learning problem significantly affecting his/her educational achievement

This is a study undertaken through Murdoch University and has been approved by the Murdoch University Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval No 2016/224).

If you have any questions or would like to express interest in participating in this study, contact Dr. Adrian Lopresti on email: or phone 08 9448 7376.

Click here to download the full information sheet about the study.