Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. 1 pound of saffron (450 grams) costs between 500 and 5000 USD and the reason behind its strapping price is the time and labor devoted in cultivating and producing the actual produce.
A specie of the flowering plant called crocus sativa commonly known as the "saffron crocus” or “autumn crocus”, saffron is said to be originally cultivated in Greece but today, saffron is being grown in the Mediterranean, East Asia and the Irano-Turanian regions as well.
The history of saffron use spans more than 3,500 years, extending across cultures and continents. From the grounds of Cleopatra and old Egyptian pharaohs to the scientific complexities of the modern times, Saffron has been used massively to treat several illnesses such as heartaches to hemorrhoids. Aside from those, the spice is also widely used by traditional healers and people with medical background in warding off inflammation and treating some cardio-vascular diseases.
In the culinary world, saffron is a great addition to many international recipes such as bouillabaisse (a French fish stew), arancini (Sicilian rice balls), paella (Spanish rice with clams, sausage and chicken) and simple steamed mussels in tomato sauce.
Here are 5 more impressive health benefits of saffron.
1. Saffron helps alleviate depression
Saffron extract may support mental health partly by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Generally, the spice’s effect to people who suffer from depression is comparable to that of standard antidepressants (Ristic, 2020)
Also, both the saffron petals and thread-like stigma appear to be effective against mild-to-moderate depression (Raman, 2019).
2. Saffron may reduce PMS symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term that describes physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms occurring before the start of a menstrual period. Studies show that saffron may help treat PMS symptoms like irritability, headaches, cravings and abdominal pain (Raman, 2019).
A different study found that simply smelling saffron for 20 minutes helped reduce PMS symptoms like lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol (Fujui, et. Al, 2016).
3. Saffron helps alleviate asthma.
Children who have asthma or have difficulty in breathing can benefit from saffron. The spice generally helps in clearing your child’s airways from inflammation. It is also a good quick fix for asthma attacks.
4. Saffron helps in reducing acne.
Saffron is known for its anti-fungal properties, fighting germs and bacteria that cause whiteheads, blackheads and acne.
You can make a face pack by cashing basil leaves along with a few strands of saffron. Apply the paste on your face for about 15 minutes and then wash it off with cool water.
5. Saffron can help with insomnia.
Saffron has mild sedative properties that can possibly babies and adults who have sleep disorder. You can include 2-3 strands of saffron in a variety of drinks or you may opt to take saffron supplements that are available in the market.
Where to buy saffron?
Saffron is available in a number of local Middle Eastern groceries and also, in some online platforms. Redsaff Saffron is one of the most credible sources of saffron spices known for its premium quality and authenticity.
Organically grown in Herat Province, West of Afghanistan, Redsaff Saffron is a superior spice cultivated in the rich soil and ideal climate of the Afghan region. All threads are handpicked by the Afghan women and packed in a beautiful airtight sealed jar in New York City.
Redsaff Saffron is also GMO-free, Gluten-free, Vegan with no added preservatives or additives.