Saffron: Exotic Spice, Natural Healer

Saffron: Exotic Spice, Natural Healer

Most of us know it for its unique fragrance, exotic color, and its use as a spice in dishes, especially from India and the Middle East. And for those of us who shop for it, we know it by its high price.

Saffron is that rare plant known for centuries as an ayurvedic remedy used both in foods and as a remedy to various ailments. Traditionally, saffron has also been a beauty tool; it helps to lose weight, clarify skin, and add an aesthetic glow to the skin. In fact, in ayurveda it is called “varnya gana,”which means “one that reveals fairness and glow to skin.” Its primary purpose is its use as a spice, but it continues to be used commercially in cosmetics and fragrances.

As for its price, it is one of the most expensive spices, thanks to those exotic red threads. Saffron consists of the dried stigmas cultivated from the plant. The stigmas are handpicked, and it takes 75,000 saffron blossoms to make one pound of spice.

Natural Healing

For its natural healing remedies, however, the spice saffron (Crocus Sativus) is unparalleled for its breadth of cures. In the last decade, scientists from around the world have documented its healing and preventative powers. It is a powerful antioxidant, analgesic, and reducer of faulty cell activity. Saffron has been cited in various studies for its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. It helps improves the body’s immunity.

Saffron is a source of plant polyphenols/carotenoids, and many of its medicinal properties are attributed to its compounds such as crocetin, crocins, and other compounds. It’s a natural diuretic. It increases the body’s energy level. In fact, saffron has been documented for its positive results on everything from obesity and cancer to asthma, whooping cough, toothache, heart disease, acne, depression, Alzheimer’s, and many other ailments.

I personally recommend saffron not only as a spice in healthy dishes but also as a supplement when conditions warrant (be sure and check with your medical professional before beginning any regimen of supplements). My new book, The Gene Therapy Plan, has numerous recipes, all of which tap the econutritional properties of foods and spices. These recipes will inspire you to create your own; in the process, you are providing health and disease prevention at the DNA level.

Below is a brief summary of various conditions that are treated (medicinally and naturally) with saffron.

Conditions Helped By Saffron           

  • Asthma/Respiratory Problems. Saffron has been used traditionally to control phlegm, to improve respiratory function. Because it has bronchodilator effects, it helps conditions like asthma, whooping cough, colds, and coughs.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease. Some studies have cited saffron’s positive effects when used as an anti-Alzheimer and anti-depressant aid.
  • Mouth and Gum Soreness. Rubbed on the gums and teeth, saffron is used to reduce inflammation of the mouth and tongue.
  • Cardiovascular Disease. Saffron helps lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies show positive results for heart patients, and it helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Insomnia. Try a pinch of saffron in warm glass of milk before bedtime.
  • Menstruation and PMS. Saffron is cited as a help for menstrual conditions like managing PMS and irregular menstruation.
  • Digestive Problems. Many different conditions of the digestive system have traditionally been treated with saffron: among them, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, acidity, and spleen ailments.       It is an excellent liver tonic.
  • Mental Deficits. Early Alzheimer’s disease, depression, memory retention, and age-related mental impairment have all been treated with saffron.
  • Skin Conditions. Because its very name implies its ability to impart glow to the skin, saffron is also effective as a natural remedy for acne, dark circles, dry skin, and blemishes.
  • Aphrodisiac. Last, but not least, ancient and modern cultures turn to saffron as an aphrodisiac. In Ayurvedic texts, it is cited as a cure for impotence.

References: 

Hosseinzadeh, Hossein, “Saffron: A Herbal Medicine of Third Millenium, Pharmaceurtical Research Center, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products, 2014 FEBRUARY; 9 (1): 1-2.

Saffron, WebMD. Com

Mashmoul, Maryam, et al., Saffron: A Natural Potent Antioxidant as a Promising Anti-Obesity Drug, Antioxidants, 29 Oct., 2013.

Sharma, Kanchan, Saffron: Ayurveda’s Golden Spice, www.remedyspot.com

World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight—Factsheet No. 311. September 2006.

Fernández, J.-A.; Pandalai, S. Biology, biotechnology and biomedicine of saffron. Recent Res. Dev. Plant Sci. 2004, 2, 127- 159. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index.html

Bathaie, S.Z.; Mousavi, S.Z. New applications and mechanisms of action of saffron and its important ingredients. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2010, 50, 761–786.

Hasani-Ranjbar, S., et al. A systematic review of the potential herbal sources of future drugs effective in oxidant-related diseases. Allergy Drug Targets 2009, 8, 2–10

García-Lafuente, A.; Guillamón, E.; Villares, A.; Rostagno, M.A.; Martínez, J.A. Flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents: Implications in cancer and cardiovascular disease. Res. 2009, 58, 537–552.

Giaccio, M. Crocetin from saffron: An active component of an ancient spice. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. 2004, 44, 155–172.

Kamalipour, M.; Akhondzadeh, S. Cardiovascular effects of saffron: An evidence-based review. Tehran Univ. Heart Cent. 2011, 6, 59–61.

Assimopoulou, A.,et al. ; Radical scavenging activity of Crocus sativus L. Extract and its bioactive constituents. Phytother. Res. 2005, 19, 997–1000.

Rios, J., et al. An update review of saffron and its active constituents. Phytother. Res. 1996, 10, 189–193.

2016-10-13T18:09:23+00:00 By |