What is saffron spice?

Saffron is a spice that comes from the flowers of Crocus sativus commonly known as “saffron crocus”. It is originated in Iran. However, Greece and Mesopotamia have also been suggested as the possible origin of this plant. Saffron crocus slowly propagated throughout in North Africa, North America and Oceania. It grows in the Middle East and parts of Europe. It is most commonly cultivated in Iran, India and Greece. The plant of saffron grows about 20 to 30 cm. It takes three years from the time they’re planted as seeds for the crocus to produce flowers. However, its flowers takes only three to four weeks to grow during October and November. The flower produces dark red stigmas, also called threads which are removed carefully by hand and dried. These are considered to be the “saffron spice”.

Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world because it must be harvested by hand. It also takes a large quantity of blossoms and dried stigmas to make 1 kg of the spice. Today, saffron still holds a high value as both a spice used for cooking to add color and flavor to foods and an alternative treatment for various health conditions. Like many other herbs and spices, saffron can be prepared as a tea. It has iodoform like fragrance due to the presence of phytochemicals such as picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid and crocin pigments which give them red and rich golden yellow colors, respectively. It contains chemicals which might alter mood, kill cancer cells, decrease swelling and act like antioxidants. People commonly use saffron to cure many diseases such as, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer disease, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and for so many other conditions.

Amazing Benefits of Saffron

The benefits of saffron consumption may include:

A Powerful Antioxidant

The majority of the health claims relates to its high levels of specific antioxidants (molecules that protects the cells against free radicals and oxidative stress.)

Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments and responsible for saffron’s red color. Both compounds may have anti-depressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation, reduce appetite and aid weight loss.

Safranal gives saffron its distinct taste and aroma.

It may help to improve:

  • Memory learning ability

  • protect brain cells against oxidative stress

Last of all, kaempferol is found in petals of saffron flower. This compound has been linked to health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, anticancer properties and antidepressant activity.

Promotes Memory Retention

A glass of saffron milk could also help to boost your memory retention. It aids in the treatment of age related mental impairment by boosting memory. It is also believed that saffron milk can help to prevent oxidative stress in the hippocampus, may enhance memory and learning ability.  

Boosting Mood

It may also help to improve mood and be a useful addition for the treatment of depression. A study in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science found that an extract of saffron increased dopamine levels in the brain without changing the levels of other brain hormones, such as serotonin.

Prevent Nervous System Disorders

The antioxidants in saffron play a key role in protecting the body from disorders affecting the nervous system. The compounds in saffron, such as crocin, appear to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain which may lead to beneficial effects.

Saffron may also help with Alzheimer’s symptoms due to both its memory-enhancing properties and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. People with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s who took saffron for 22 weeks had cognitive improvements that were comparable with those of people who took the drug donepezil and they also experienced less side effects.

Saffron is high in antioxidants, which helps to neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic diseases. In test-tube studies, saffron and its compounds have been shown to selectively kill colon cancer cells or suppress their growth, while leaving normal cells unharmed.

This effect also applies to;

  • bone marrow

  • cervix and several other cancer cells

Reduce PMS Symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term that describes physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms occurring before the start of a menstrual period. A study found that saffron may help to treat PMS symptoms. In women of 20-45 years age, taking 30 mg of saffron daily was more effective than a placebo at treating PMS symptoms, such as irritability, headaches, cravings and pain. Another study has found that simply smelling saffron for 20 minutes helped to reduce PMS symptoms like anxiety and lowered levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Reduce appetite and aid weight loss

Snacking is a common habit that may cause the risk of gaining unwanted weight. According to the modern research, saffron may help to prevent snacking by limiting the appetite. In a study, taking a saffron extract supplement helped significantly to reduce appetite, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and total fat mass. Saffron also elevates mood, which in turn reduces the desire to take snack.

Other Potential Health Benefits

Saffron has been linked to many other health benefits;

  • Reduce heart diseases by lowering blood cholesterol

  • Prevent arteries from clogging

  • Lower blood sugar levels and raise insulin sensitivity

  • Improve eyesight in adults with age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Saffron appears to improve eyesight in adults with AMD and protect against free radical damage, which is linked to AMD.

Saffron Turmeric- Golden Milk

Saffron golden milk is a delicious blend of turmeric and saffron with a little bit of honey. A warming drink have anti-inflammatory properties and effective against premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is beneficial for digestion and helps in weight loss, improves sleep, building immunity, cures cough and cold.

How golden milk is so good for health?

This drink is soothing and packed of vitamins and minerals. Turmeric gives a vibrant golden yellow color to this drink with so many benefits such as weight loss, joint pain. It is not only full of health benefits but it also have a unique flavor.  It offers an excellent contrast to the saffron with an earthy and bitter taste. Saffron has a sweet, honey-like flavor, but it is bitter after taste. It has many health benefits, like boosting antioxidants, help to boost mood and help you feel better. This drink may be enjoyed at any time of day but preferably good to take at the end of a long day.

 

  • Support Against Cold

Saffron golden milk is an effective tonic to help with cold and fever. According to Macrobiotic nutritionist and Health practitioner Shilpa Arora, saffron mixed in milk and applied over the forehead quickly relieves cold. It is warm in nature and consists of numerous healing properties that helps to reduce the risk of getting a cold. 

 

 

  • Helps To Treat Insomnia

According to the book, “Healing Foods”, saffron contains potent antioxidants, added to milk which helps to treat insomnia and depression. Saffron also contains a plenty of manganese which is known for its mild sedative properties that help to induce sleep.

 

 

  • Support Asthma and Allergies

A glass of golden milk can help to support joint painsasthma and a few mild weather-related allergies too. Its anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful in asthma and allergies.

 

 

 

  • Good for Heart Health

A pinch of saffron could be wonders for heart health. It can stimulate circulation and prevents hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis). Crocetin, an active compound, found in saffron has been known for reducing the cholesterol level in the blood and preventing heart-related diseases to a large extent.

 

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