Saffron crocus is a bulbous perennial plant. The bulbs are covered by brown pods. The plant includes peduncle, six purple petals, and three vivid red stigmas, the thread-like parts of the flower, which are the distal end of a carpel. The dried stigmas are used to make saffron spice. Saffron is a nutritious food spice which includes essential oils, Minerals and Mucilage. It can take one to two hundred thousand saffron blossoms to produce almost five kilogram of moist and freshly harvested saffron. The weight of saffron leaves decreases significantly to one kilogram when it dries.
Saffron grows in south west of Asia, South of Spain and Southern Europe.
Saffron Nutrition Facts:
The golden spice of saffron has golden health benefits. Saffron finds its most important use as a seasoning agent in cooking and as a coloring agent.
Amongst all the benefits that saffron is celebrated for, protecting and preventing eye vision is one of the most important advantages. Researchers indicate that saffron is a powerful antioxidant that helps in managing the fatty acid levels in the membranes of the cells, thereby correcting vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration related to age.
Saffron is known to be an effective anti-depressant for curing mild to moderate depression. Ingesting sufficient amounts of saffron tea brings feelings of happiness and joy.
Saffron is highly effective in inducing menstruation in women, particularly those with irregular periods. Besides reducing bleeding in the uterus, it alleviates the pain caused by menstruation.
Apart from reducing menstrual period pains, saffron helps with alleviating the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including emotional stability, sore breasts, depression and fatigue.
Saffron contains an agent called crocetin which is helpful in lowering blood pressure. When taken in the form of a tea, saffron works best in reversing high blood pressure.
If your lungs have been inflamed due to a cold or respiratory illness, clear off the phlegm from your lungs by drinking saffron. Furthermore, saffron helps in reducing inflammation and clearing airways, thereby easing the symptoms of asthma.
Saffron tea helps in cleansing the body from harmful toxins and substances that can otherwise lead to arthrosclerosis, a condition that hardens the arteries due to the build-up of plaque from fattening foods. When ignored, arthrosclerosis can trigger heart disease, diabetes and blood disorders.
Stomach aches and similar ailments can be eased with saffron tea through stimulating the stomach muscles. By contracting the muscles, the tea gives cooling, soothing, and relaxing vibes.
Crocin, Safranal, and Picrocrocin present in saffron have anti-cancer activities that combine to prevent and slow down the growth of human cancer cells.
Using saffron in cooking on a regular basis has shown signs of improved memory power, relieved muscle pain and pain from kidney stones, and increased blood circulation.
Preparing tea from saffron has been helpful in restricting the buildup of cholesterol; thus, bringing relief from abdominal pains and managing health blood pressure.
With a number of carotenoids present, saffron is believed to inhibit skin tumors and improve arthritis.
It contains active constituents which help in producing positive effects on people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. Additionally, massaging your gums with saffron reduces soreness and inflammation of the mouth and tongue.
Saffron is beneficial to the body both internally and externally. Sores, bruises, and bug bites are some problems that can be treated and healed with the application of saffron paste.
Other health benefits that saffron has been credited with include curing insomnia, coughing, heartburn, premature ejaculation, flatulence, indigestion, dry skin and baldness.
However saffron in overuse high dosage can be poisonous as well.
How to use saffron
1- Grind the saffron strands to a fine powder with pestle and mortar, using little granulated sugar,
2- In a cup, mix ¼ teaspoon of the powder with four teaspoon of hot water (adequate for a meal for four persons), stir with a teaspoon, cover the cup, and allow brewing for 3 or 4 minutes before use;
3- Add the liquid saffron at the last phase of cooking to the food, desserts or drinks,
4- Enjoy the taste!