Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world and is used in extremely minute quantities while cooking. Why is it so expensive? Because it takes approximately 70,000 flowers of the saffron plant to make just 250 gm of the saffron that can be used in cooking. Its cost makes it prohibitive for everyday meals, but if you’re looking for natural solutions to health problems then we recommend that you splurge on this orange spice. Check out the different ailments that saffron can help you with and how you can improve your health with it.
Saffron is a Mood Booster
Saffron Health Benefits
Ground-breaking studies done in the last decade revealed that saffron has the ability to treat depression. Of course, it would not make a difference with severe depression as that requires a whole gamut of treatment apart from medication. But people who suffered from mild depression reported a definite improvement in their moods and general outlook on life after taking saffron capsules over a month and a half. In fact, the results were just as good as pharmaceutical medication for depression. This health benefit of saffron is enabled by its essential oil safranal which has a mild sedative-like effect on the nervous system.
Saffron Helps with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
The same property that heals depression also makes an effective mood booster for women suffering from the emotional symptoms of periods. But that’s not all. Saffron also helps to alleviate other symptoms of PMS including cramps, aching joints and headaches.
Saffron for Digestion
It’s that essential oil at work again. Just as it soothes the nervous system, the safranal from saffron also soothes the digestive system and basically just brings it back on track. So whether you are constipated or have loose motions, debilitating nausea or excessive flatulence or heartburn, a daily dose of saffron will help.
Saffron Reduces Fatigue
Feeling a little winded of late? Not feeling like your usual peppy self? Find it hard to get out of bed or get through the morning even? Then a little saffron may help. By soothing your nervous system and balancing out your digestion, saffron will calm you down which is often the key to feeling less tired.
Saffron Good for Blood and Heart
Another reason saffron helps to calm you down is because it is known to help to slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. This means that you can lower your risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease with saffron.
Saffron for the Brain
This brightly-hued spice can help you improve your memory and help you learn better.
Saffron for the Eyes
Incredibly, saffron helps improve eyesight in every person who takes it. Those with cataracts too can benefit from saffron.
Saffron for Better Sleep
Having trouble getting some shut-eye at night? That mild sedative property of saffron which helps with depression can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Just add a pinch of powder to a glass of warm milk and drink before you go to bed.
Saffron Soothes Respiratory Disorders
From what you’ve read so far, you’ve figured out that saffron is a soothing spice. Indeed, it continues to work that magic on the respiratory system which is why it is great for those suffering from something as simple as a cough to a more serious respiratory issue like asthma. Saffron is known to open up respiratory pathways which is why ancient medicine recommend mixing it with hot milk and drinking if your nose or head is stuffed with phlegm.
Saffron for Aches and Pains
In some parts of the world, saffron is applied to babies’ gums when they are teething to help reduce the pain. This is a very natural and safe remedy for baby tooth pain but it is still advisable to check with the paediatrician before trying it out.
In general though, saffron works to reduce pain as we have already seen with PMS. So whether its arthritis, a stomach ache, rheumatism or muscle pain, take some saffron and see the difference.
Rubbing saffron over a bruise is thought to help it heal and disappear faster.
Saffron for a Better Sex Life
Saffron is supposedly quite an aphrodisiac and can be used to control premature ejaculation too. It is also believed that saffron can help boost sperm production and thus aid in improving fertility in men.
Saffron is Anti-cancer
Science is only now discovering the wealth of health benefits in the kitchen. Saffron is just one of the many spices that is now known to have antioxidants and therapeutic properties which reduce cancer risk.
How to Use Saffron
Saffron can simply be added as-is to any of your foods from rice and meat dishes to cold, milky beverages and dessert.
You can also massage with saffron and it will be absorbed by the skin. You can mix saffron powder with honey and apply. Or you can apply saffron essential oil directly on to your skin after mixing it with a carrier oil like jojoba or grapeseed.
It is better to buy saffron threads – the original saffron – rather than saffron powder since the latter may be adulterated. It should be a bright yellow color that almost looks orange. Always buy in very small quantities.
Store your saffron in a cool, dark place and preferably in a dark container too as daylight tends to sap saffron of its healing properties. If your saffron turns a light yellow or turns grey, throw it out.
Note that an overdose of saffron can be harmful, as an overdose of anything can be. But you would have to take a huge amount of saffron at one time for it to count as ‘too much’ – over ten grams. Usually, when using saffron for cooking or for medicinal purposes, not more than .02 gm is used per person, that’s about one pinch of it. Saffron is safe for pregnant women and children. If you are suffering from an illness, especially a prolonged one, then it is advisable to speak to your doctor or health care provider before deciding to take saffron as a medicine.