About Saffron

 

 

 Saffron is a spice that comes from the small purple saffron crocus. Each flower on the plant has 3 vivid crimson stigmas which are the part used as the spice. Saffron is used in various Indian, Persian and European cuisines.
Saffron is the most expensive spice on Earth. It is so expensive due to short annual growing seasons and to the high labor involved in growing and harvesting it. Each flower’s stigmas need to be collected by hand and there are only a few per flower.
Fresh saffron has a distinctive earthy smell and flavor and imparts a bright orange color to food. Saffron is often used in paellas, sometimes risottos and makes a beautiful and healthful tea. It is wonderful added to basmati rice when preparing Indian dishes and will give the rice a beautiful golden color.
Saffron has a long medicinal history as part of traditional healing. Recent studies have shown it to have anti-carcinogenic (cancer-suppressing) properties, anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing) and antioxidant properties. It may also be helpful for depression and protect the eyes and slow down macular degeneration, It is often used to reduce fevers, cramps and to calm the nerves.

 

 

Saffron History

 

Saffron is a spice that comes from the small purple saffron crocus. Each flower on the plant has 3 vivid crimson stigmas which are the part used as the spice. Saffron is used in various Indian, Persian and European cuisines.

Saffron is the most expensive spice on Earth. It is so expensive due to short annual growing seasons and to the high labor involved in growing and harvesting it. Each flower’s stigmas need to be collected by hand and there are only a few per flower.
Fresh saffron has a distinctive earthy smell and flavor and imparts a bright orange color to food. Saffron is often used in paellas, sometimes risottos and makes a beautiful and healthful tea. It is wonderful added to basmati rice when preparing Indian dishes and will give the rice a beautiful golden color.
Saffron has a long medicinal history as part of traditional healing. Recent studies have shown it to have anti-carcinogenic (cancer-suppressing) properties, anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing) and antioxidant properties. It may also be helpful for depression and protect the eyes and slow down macular degeneration, It is often used to reduce fevers, cramps and to calm the nerves.

 

Health Benefits


Saffron contains several plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.
Their flower pistils compose several essential volatile oils, but the most important of them all is safranal which gives saffron its pleasant flavor. Other volatile oils in saffron are cineole, panthenol, pinene, borneol, geraniol, limonene, p-cymene, linalool, terpinene-4-oil, etc.
This colorful spice has many non-volatile active components; the most important of them is a-crocin, a carotenoid compound, which gives pistils their characteristic golden-yellow color. It also contains other carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, lycopene, a- and ß-carotenes. These are important antioxidants that help protect the human body from oxidant-induced stress, cancers, infections and acts as immune modulators.
The active components in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as an antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-oxidant, digestive, anti-convulsant.
This novel spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the human body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
Additionally, it is also rich in many vital vitamins, including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C which is essential for optimum health.



Medicinal uses


The active components present in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines for a long time as anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic. Research studies have shown that safranal, a volatile oil found in the spice, has antioxidant, cytotoxic effect on cancer cells, anticonvulsant and antidepressant properties. Alfa-crocin, a carotenoid compound, which gives the spice its characteristic golden-yellow hue, has been found to have anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer properties.

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