Saffron Herb

Other Names: Autumn crocus, bastard saffron, dyers saffron, American saffron, thistle saffron, saffron seed

Useful Parts of the Plant: The stigmas with only the anthers

The saffron herb is basically a flowering plant that is used across the world as a culinary spice as well as for various health benefits. It has a golden yellow color and is grown in areas where the climate is cool and dry. The spice was first grown in the southern part of Europe, but is now found in other major parts of the world as well especially in Italy, turkey, Spain and India. This is also known to be one of the costliest spices and is therefore highly prized. It is especially used in cooking and also for other purposes.

Nutritional Information and Properties

The nutritional properties of saffron make it a widely used herb in the entire world. The nutritional benefits have been verified by the USDA association and proved to be safe for consumption. Saffron is rich in Vitamins; mainly Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Riboflavin. It is also a rich source of protein and carbohydrates. It has almost no cholesterol and provides the body with the required energy. It is rich in minerals such as iron, copper, manganese and magnesium. Potassium and sodium are important electrolytes that are found in the herb.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

  • One of the important health benefits of saffron includes its use in the treatment of depression and is effective even in the cases of long term depression cases.
  • Saffron is also known to be a very good antioxidant and hence it is found to be very effective in slowing or even completely preventing age related eye disorders as well as in the treatment of macular degeneration. In fact research has also shown that saffron may also be responsible to some extent in altering the genes that are responsible for the fatty acid content in the vision cell membranes which are responsible for the resilience and strength of the eye tissue.
  • Another one of the benefits of saffron is that it is known to help in improving ones memory as well as cognitive processing on account of the presence of the two compounds namely crocin and crocetin. Saffron is also used to treat degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimers and other such memory related issues that are commonly observed in the elderly.
  • Amongst the various medicinal uses of saffron, it is also known to prevent the spread of any cancerous tumor and hence at times it is also used simultaneously along with the conventional treatment for cancer.
  • Use of saffron during pregnancy is also known to be beneficial on account of its various health benefits especially when consumed with milk.
  • Saffron when given with milk and consumed just before going to bed, is known to induce sound sleep.
  • Another one of the health benefits of saffron is that it helps in providing relief from the discomfort caused by any inflammation or soreness in the tongue or mouth.
  • Saffron is also an excellent natural supplement for those who suffer from high levels of cholesterol as it helps in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol as well as the triglycerides.
  • Saffron uses for the skin include it being used as an active ingredient in saffron cream which is used to treat acute dryness of skin. Saffron is also known to be beneficial against baldness.
  • As part of the health benefits of saffron, it is also a highly effective treatment for depression, irritability and mood swings that are typical to premenstrual syndrome.
  • The numerous health benefits of saffron also include it being used in the treatment of liver, bladder and kidney disorders.
  • Saffron is known to help in improving circulation of blood as well as promoting good health of the digestive system. This is mostly because saffron tends to coat the membranes of the colon and the stomach and thereby helps in getting rid of the symptoms of colic and intestinal acidity. Thus saffron is also used in many gastro intestinal disorders.

Other Uses:

Saffron also has many uses in cooking as it tends to enhance the flavor of the dish and also gives out an excellent aroma. On account of the reddish golden color and the health benefits, there are various uses of saffron in cooking where it is commonly used as a coloring and seasoning agent in cooking.

Precautions /Side Effects/ Warnings:

Some of the side effects of saffron observed in some cases include drowsiness, vomiting, fluctuations in ones appetite and nausea. It is important that you avoid excessive use of the herb. Consult your doctor in case you are looking at using the herb for medical purpose.