Benefits of saffron
. Saffron is a popular spice and an expensive one too. Its taste makes it great for usage in food, as refreshment and even for making beverages. Saffrons unique colour, flavour and other properties give it culinary and medicinal characteristics that make it renowned all over the world. It belongs to the Iradaceae family and is a native of the South Europe regions. These regions originally cultivated and used saffron on a daily basis.
Health Benefits of Saffron
. Saffron is mostly known for its inclusion in food items. But it has very significant nutrients and chemical compounds which are beneficial in providing medicinal benefits.
. One of the main saffron benefits when used in cooking food is that it contains many plant derived chemical components which are known to prevent diseases. They are also known to promote overall well-being of the body.
. The plant part from which saffron is obtained contains essential but volatile oils which when added to food, imparts its unique flavour and benefits of saffron as a spice. Some of these oils are cineole, pinene, borneol, geraniol etc.
. Apart from the volatile oils, there are also non-volatile active components like carotenoid compound that are anti-oxidants beneficial to the body. These prevent free radical reactions which produce harmful by-compounds and diseases. Some of the carotenoids like zea-xanthin, lycopene, alpha and beta carotene are widely appreciated. This is also one of the main uses of saffron.
. In many religions, saffron is not just considered a spice. It is used in various types of therapies like body healing, detoxification and also in the spas.
. The active components in the saffron make our body lose its depressing characteristics making it a dietary necessity sometimes.
Heart diseases blood pressure
. Potassium also helps maintains the blood pressure and keeps heart diseases at bay.
Blood cell production
. Iron is a very useful component in the body as the blood requires it to form haemoglobin and it is a co-factor in the red blood cell production too.
. The overall mineral content including calcium, vitamins, proteins etc present in Saffron ensure the maintenance of optimum health.
. Apart from imparting its exotic flavor and aroma to several recipes, saffron possesses beauty benefits as well. It has natural skin lightening qualities.
Saffron for radiant Skin
. To get radiant and smooth skin, prepare the following face pack.its anti-bacterial properties.
For glowing skin
. The skin tends to get dry and dull in the winters. In order to get its glow back, make a pack using saffron and honey. Take a spoonful of honey and add a few strands of?kesar?in it. Mix it and apply on the face. The hydrating properties of honey and the healing properties of saffron improve blood circulation adding the glow back to the skin.
For skin brightening
. Soak a few strands of saffron in milk for a good half-an-hour to let the milk get its colour and other benefits. Add a teaspoon of sandalwood powder or?chandan?to this and apply the pack on your face and neck. Keep it for 15-20 minutes before washing it off. Regular use of this pack will help improve and brighten your skin tone.
To remove tan
. Soak saffron in milk cream or?malai?and steep overnight. Blend this in the morning with your fingers and apply on the affected area. This will lighten your tan effectively. It has the added benefit of adding a glow to your skin as well.?
To tone the skin
. A toner is used after cleansing the skin. If you want a natural one, mix saffron in rose water and let it give its colour to it. After that, dab it on the face with a cotton ball. Many women add strands of saffron to their hot bath water and bathe in it. This keeps the skin look young for a longer time.
To get rid of acne
. If your skin is prone to pimples, make a paste of saffron and tulsi leaves (basil) by grinding the two. Its anti-bacterial properties will help reduce the infection. Apply it on the acne and blemish and leave it to dry before washing it off with water. But you will need regular application for the acne to disappear.
How to spot real saffron
. A spice like saffron has many fake versions so it is important to be a bit careful in order to not get duped. Many vendors sell low quality?kesar?mixed with coloured ingredients that resemble saffron. Remember, the highest quality of saffron is deep red with orange tips. It does not have any white or yellow spots.
Treatment of Dry Skin
. If you have dull and dry skin, you can prepare a mask with lemon and saffron.
Saffron in Bath Water
. Saffron strands can be sprinkled in your warm bath water. Let it soak in the water for 20 minutes. Use this water for your bath. This will lighten your complexion naturally.
. Saffron should be stored in an airtight container, preferably in a glass jar in a cool, dark and dry place. The ideal storage temperature for saffron is below 68F and in less than 40% humidity.
Usage Cooking and Eating
. Saffron is a versatile spice that can add a new dimension to both savory and sweet dishes. Not only does it impart a distinct flavor and aroma, it also makes your dish look more presentable. Saffron can be used in thread or ground form depending upon the recipe.
. Saffron is beneficial for your hair and helps in stimulating hair growth. Saffron can be mixed with licorice and milk and applied to bald spots. This will combat hair loss and promote hair growth.
. There are several methods to use it in the kitchen. Whole stigma can be added directly to the preparations, or oftentimes, the threads are ground and powdered using traditional hand mill and added to the recipes.
. The active components present in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines since long time ago as anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic. Research studies have shown that, safranal, a volatile oil found in the spice, has antioxidant, cytotoxicity towards cancer cells, anticonvulsant and antidepressant properties.
Saffron nutrition facts
. Saffron is one of the highly prized spices known since antiquity for its color, flavor and medicinal properties. It is the dried "stigma" or threads of the flower of the S.crocus plant.Saffron has the distinct flavor because of the chemical components in it picrocrocin, and safranal. It also contains a natural carotenoid chemical compound, crocin, which gives saffron its golden yellow hue. These traits along with its medicinal properties make it a valuable ingredient in many foods worldwide.
. High doses of saffron can act as uterine stimulant and in severe cases can cause miscarriage. Therefore, pregnant women may be advised to avoid this spice in the diet.
Saffron is a powerful dye too
. Saffron's dyeing power is still used to give the golden yellow colour to cloth used for special purposes like Buddhist robes, the bride's veil in some countries of Maghreb, and above all in carpets as it is said to act as a moth repellent.
. Saffron or?kesar?has been used as a beauty ingredient for a very long time. Your mothers or grannies may have told you about its magical properties to heal the skin and used it albeit sparingly when making face packs. It is possibly the most expensive of spices but saffron has qualities that justify its value. An excellent agent to purify skin, it also has anti bacterial properties to cure acne.?
Colouring and perfumery
. Saffron has been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India. It is in the long run an?unstable?colouring agent; the imparted vibrant orange-yellow hue quickly fades to a pale and creamy yellow.the saffron stamens yield a luminous yellow-orange; increasing the applied saffron concentration will give fabric of increasingly rich shades of red. Clothing dyed with saffron was traditionally reserved for the noble classes, implying that saffron played a ritualised and status-keying role.
. Saffron's folkloric uses as an herbal medicine are legendary and legion. It was used for its?carminative?(suppressing cramps and flatulence) and?emmenagogic?(enhancing pelvic blood flow) properties.
Anti bacterial qualities
. Saffron is teeming with anti-bacterial qualities, which make it ideal for curing acne. Saffrons exfoliating qualities make it a wonderful aid in clearing and brightening up the complexion.
. Saffron has?healing properties that fastens up the healing process of wounds and removes scars and spots for a blemish free skin tone. As it is a rich source of exfoliating properties, it easily removes scars and spots left behind from old wounds or cuts or acne eruptions.
. Suntan can make your skin complexion look really bad. Now you can get rid of the tan from your skin with saffron. Soak a few strands of saffron in milk cream and steep overnight. Blend this in the morning with your fingers and apply on the affected area. This will lighten your tan effectively. It has the added benefit of adding a glow to your skin as well.
Gas and acidity
. Saffron is effective for providing relief from gas and acidity related problems.
. It helps in relieving inflammation of arthritis. Saffron also provides relief from joint pains. It is very helpful for athletes as it eases fatigue and muscle inflammation by helping the tissues to get rid of lactic acid which gets built up after strenuous exercise.
. It is said that saffron is also a mild sedative which can be used for insomnia and even treat depression. Taking a pinch of saffron with milk before bed helps in sleep disorders like insomnia.
. Saffron also contains the compound crocin, which scientists believe that helps in reducing fever. Crocin found in saffron also promotes learning, memory retention, and recall capacity.
. Saffron improves eye and vision health. In a recent research study, every participant who took saffron had vision improvements.
More Saffron Benefits
. Among the multiple health benefits of saffron are the treatment of asthma, menstrual discomfort, atherosclerosis, depression, whooping cough, and many other health problems.
Saffron is a plant
. Saffron is a plant. The dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice. It can take 75,000 saffron blossoms to produce a single pound of saffron spice. Saffron is largely cultivated and harvested by hand. Due to the amount of labor involved in harvesting, saffron is considered one of the world's most expensive spices. The stigmas are also used to make medicine.
It Is Natural
. Saffron extract is a natural supplement, made from the saffron crocus. The dried stigmas, threadlike parts of the flower, are used to make saffron spice. According to?WebMD, saffron has been used to help alleviate a number of ailments aside from over-eating including: asthma, cough, sleep problems, hardening of the arteries, intestinal gas, depression and heartburn. ?It has also been used as an aphrodisiac.
. Saffron is as important ingredient of large number of Ayurvedic medicines. On account of its strong antipoisonous, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stimulant, lactogogue, livotonic, nervine tonic, sedative and styptic properties it is highly valued in Ayurveda. It is considered an ideal Tridoshhara and a drug of immense efficacy in disorders of children of unknown actiology. It is used in acne, apoplexy, arthritis, asthma, colic, cough dyspepsia, hemierania, insect bites and stings, liver disorders, mental disorders, neurasthenia, oedema, painful menstruation, phthisis, prolapse of anus, sore throat and splenic disorders. It is attributed with extraordinary properties for improving weak eyesight and highly valued as a complexion builder.
Studies on Saffron
. Saffron extract has been shown to be capable of inhibiting and/or retarding the growth of tumors in a variety of experimental models?in vivo.?A topical application inhibited second-stage skin cancer, and oral administration of saffron extract restricted soft tissue sarcomas and inhibited tumor cell growth in mice. Several studies combined indicated that saffron also may be a promising agent for reducing the side effects from cisplatin (an early, often used cancer drug), including nephrotoxicity (toxicity in the kidneys).
. When used as a weight loss aid, saffron supplements are purported to curb appetite and reduce cravings. Some proponents suggest that saffron can help increase brain levels of serotonin (a chemical known to?regulate mood) and, in turn, help prevent compulsive overeating and the associated weight gain.
. Some studies show that saffron may aid in the treatment of depression. For instance, a 2005 study published in?Phytotherapy Research?found that saffron extract was more effective than placebo in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.?
. Saffron extract may help relieve symptoms of PMS, a 2008 study from the?British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After taking saffron supplements daily throughout two menstrual cycles, study participants had a significantly greater decrease in PMS symptoms than those who took a placebo for the same time period.
Choose the best
. As a rule of thumb, the deeper the colour of the threads, the better the quality. Deep red with orange tips is considered to be the best. If the tips aren't orange it might indicate that the saffron is inferior and has been dyed.Inferior saffron can also look slightly frayed and worn. If you're buying saffron in markets abroad, beware of cheap deals - the real thing is always expensive. Avoid anything that's too yellow, as it is probably a fake. You can also buy ground saffron, but it loses its potency quite quickly and is sometimes adulterated with other ingredients.
. To draw out the colour and to ensure that it's evenly distributed throughout the dish it's to be added to, steep saffron threads in a little warm water, stock, milk or white wine for about 30 minutes before using. Then add the liquid to the dish, usually towards the end of cooking. If you like, you can strain the threads out before you add the liquid, but it's a fiddly job, and the threads look good in any case.
Check the colour of the saffron
. High quality saffron threads will appear dark red - the redder, the better. There should be no colour variation. If the yellow style can be viewed, it means that it hasnt been removed and while it has no?culinary?benefit, it certainly adds to the weight.?However, few producers will go to that extra effort, so it's probably best to get used to it.
Smell the saffron
. It should smell sweet, with a?floral type aroma.Powdered saffron is harder to discern with colour and it is the easiest form of saffron to adulterate. It will look a little lighter in colour than the saffron threads or tips.
Threads and powder
. Threads can be separated out one by one and used decoratively.?Chefslike the fact that you can tell it's a saffron thread on a dish & Saffron powder This doesn't require steeping and is easy to add with a pinch.
. Cool dry climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic conditions provide ideal environment for cultivation of high quality saffron from India. Apart from highly suitable climatic conditions, the ingenious knowledge and processing techniques are few important factors that determine the quality of the Indian saffron. High quality pure Indian saffron has a distinctive long silky thread with a dark red color. It has a pleasant aroma with powerful coloring and flavoring capabilities.
Planting Saffron Crocus Corms
. Where Saffron Crocus are reliably hardyUSDA Zone 6 through 8 in the South, 6 through 9 in the West you should plant the corms as soon as you receive them. Saffron Crocus do best in full sun and well-drained soil that is moderately rich in organic matter. Ideally, the site should be relatively dry in summer, when the corms are dormant.
Healing Properties of Saffron
. Saffron contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. The flower stigmas are composed of many essential volatile oils, the most important of them being,?safranal.?Safranal gives saffron its distinct hay-like flavor and is the ? Other volatile oils in saffron are?cineole, phenethenol, pinene,? borneol, geraniol, limonene, p-cymene, linalool,? terpinen-4-oil, etc.
. Saffron Fusion?tea creates whole leaf tea blends infused with 100% pure Saffron threads. In the East, Saffron was generally used to treat light to?moderate depression;?it had the reputation to bring cheerfulness and wisdom. ?Because of the mood elevation affect Saffron is known to have, it is said ?to be useful for treating anxiety, depression, weight loss, & and improving sex drive for not only men, but women too!.?
Saffron Extract Can Prevent Over Eating
. Saffron extract, a natural spice use for seasoning, fragrance, due and medicine for over three millennia, will annihilate your urge to over-eat. Though Dr. Oz had never heard of this miracle appetite suppressant before, he revealed how saffron extract prevents over eating, which is (of course) related to weight gain. According to a study in?Whole Foods Magazine, 100 percent of women who took the saffron extract supplement reported decreased hunger.?
. The saffron extract supplement has no calories. However, Dr. Oz noted that prospective users must look for a special blend called Satiereal. This particular variation was used in the studies Dr. Oz looked at. Those studies called for 88-90 mg, twice a day.
Saffron Side Effects
. There are some saffron side effects like an increase or decrease in appetite, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. These are not very bothersome side effects of saffron but few other vary with the seriousness of the problem which can be anxiety, elated mood, rapid speaking, hyper-sexuality. Skin allergy, rashes, hives, difficulty in breathing are also some saffron side effects.
Saffron purifies the blood
. Saffron purifies the blood and acts as anti-inflammatory substance. Even the inflammation of arthritis can be relieved by the consumption of saffron. Along with this, it also helps in curing other joint pains. Eating saffron during fever is also very beneficial.
Reduces the gastrointestinal acidity
. It reduces the gastrointestinal acidity and colic problem as saffron makes the coat above the membrane of stomach. So relieving you from acidity and gas is one of the numerous saffron benefits .
Saffron is an extraordinary and popular herb
. Saffron is a golden yellow colored spice that has many health benefits. Saffron is an extraordinary and popular herb that is used in exquisite food to enhance its appeal and taste. With this, extra aroma and spice is added to the food. Because it is quiet a rare and expensive herb so used during special occasions only. But you must know that this is an invaluable natural herb with which many saffron benefits are associated.
. Contraindications have not yet been identified. High doses should be avoided in pregnancy.
. Clinical trials are lacking to guide dosage of saffron. A dosage of 30 mg daily in 2 divided doses has been investigated for the treatment of mild to moderate depression and in premenstrual syndrome. Doses of up to 1.5 g/day of saffron are thought to be safe; toxic effects have been reported at 5 g.
. The following effects were reported after ingestion of saffron 5 g: severe purpura, thrombocytopenia, and severe bleeding.
. Clinical trials evaluating dosages of saffron 30 mg daily in depression reported no statistically significant adverse events versus either placebo or comparator drugs. Reported adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, and headache.
. In vitro experiments demonstrated a concentration-dependent protective effect of the carotenoid crocin and its analogs on animal retina.
. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that the low incidence of cardiovascular disease in parts of Spain may be related to the liberal, almost daily consumption of saffron. Algae in Japanese diets that also contain crocetin may have a similar protective effect.
. The potential role of saffron extracts in cancer therapy have been published.
. Saffron use has been traced to ancient Egyptian and Roman times when it was first used for medicinal value, and only later becoming valued as a spice and dye. The word?saffron?is thought to originate from the Arabic?zafaran?, meaning yellow. Folkloric uses of saffron have included its use as a sedative, expectorant, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, and diaphoretic. During the 16th through 19th centuries, saffron was used in various opioid preparations, including laudanum and black drop for pain relief.
variety of ailments
. Saffron has been used for a wide variety of ailments, including cramps, asthma, menstrual disorders, in liver disease, for pain and as an antidepressant and aphrodisiac. In the Indian Ayurvedic health system it is considered an adaptogen.
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