Famous for its orange color and very used since antiquity, not only in gastronomy but also in medicine to cure all ills, saffron has much goodness for health.
Would you like to meet them? Then read on to this article.
Saffron and its history
When we say the word “saffron” at once we think of those strands of reddish color and penetrating odor.
It is known as the “red gold” because of its quality and its price. It comes from a plant called Crocus Sativus and the name by which we know today this spice comes from the Arabic “Safran” (term used in the trade).
To achieve 1 kg of saffron you need no less than 120 000 flowers.
The process is very arduous since, from each flower, 3 red filaments are removed from the pistol with the help of a few tweezers.
Thereafter they are allowed to dry on a sieve at elevated temperature.
This plant originally from Iran (between the mountains Alvand and Zagros) is thousands of years old.
The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Greeks used it as a remedy for stomach pain, as a dye and as a flavoring in food.
What are the benefits of saffron?
This beautiful plant with lilac flower and red filaments has bioactive compounds with innumerable benefits for our health.
It is rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, essential oils and vitamin B.
Some of the medicinal properties of saffron that we can highlight are:
Saffron has the ability to stimulate appetite and digestion, as it increases salivary and gastric secretions.
It is recommended for those people who suffer from inappetence, poor digestion and hyposecretory dyspepsia.
It is also used to treat dry mouth.
It contains Crocetin, a component that stimulates the production of bile.
It helps in the digestive process and in the prevention of stones in the gallbladder.
Saffron also protects the liver from aflatoxin (found in poorly preserved foods and peanuts).
This spice is effective as an emmenagogue and treats premenstrual symptoms and dysmenorrhea.
It also favors the menstrual cycle, benefits the flow of the period and avoids uterine colic.
One of the main compounds of saffron is crocin (which forms from crocetin and acts as a potent natural antioxidant).
• This substance slows down the aging of body cells, improves overall health and prevents the development of free radicals.
• It improves memory, learning, and cognitive skills.
• It is a supplement more than interesting for those who suffer stress, protects the brain and can delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia or Parkinson’s.
• As if it were not enough saffron slows the degeneration of the ocular cells and improves the functions of the retina and the blood vessels.
It acts as a natural remedy to reduce the symptoms of depression and dysthymia. It is used in cases of anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority or drastic changes in mood.
In turn the saffron has aromatic substances with sedative effects that fight anxiety and nervousness. Since ancient times it was prescribed the ointment of the plant to treat insomnia.
Since it is a plant very rich in antioxidants helps us to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
For centuries it has been prescribed to strengthen the heart and at present its properties are known for:
• Reduce cholesterol.
• Improve the nutrition of capillaries and blood products.
• Reduce the symptoms of atherosclerosis.
Thanks to its antioxidant powers and its great contribution of carotenoids saffron is a supplement more than beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
It lowers blood sugar, protects patients from diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage typical of the disease) and prevents vision problems (also frequent).
It has been proven that, thanks to beta-carotenes and flavonoids, this spice delays tumor growth and lengthens life expectancy in cancer patients.
It also reduces kidney or liver damage due to the use of certain medications.
The saffron infusion is used in several regions of Spain and Europe to treat toothache and problems in the dentition of children.
Doing mouth rinses with this remedy prevents sores in the mouth. It also reduces inflamed gingivitis and gums.
How to take advantage of the benefits of saffron?
There are different ways to enjoy the properties of this powerful spice:
1 glass of water (200 ml)
1 teaspoon saffron (0.5 g)
Add the saffron to the glass of water and bring it to a boil.
Once it boils, remove it from the heat and let stand 5 minutes.
After the indicated time, we will pour the contents and drink it.
It is obtained in the naturist stores. The recommended dose is between 2 and 5 grams per day.
3. Gastronomic uses
This aromatic and coloring spice can be used in many recipes such as paella, rice, chicken, fish, etc.
It is very important to comply with the prescribed doses and not to prolong the consumption for more than 6 weeks.
It is not advised in pregnant women since the saffron can be abortive.