16 December 2014

Is Saffron good for you?

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Why Saffron is good for you?

Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron, comprises the dried red stigma of the perennial herb Crocus sativus linn and is widely cultivated in countries such as India, Iran and Greece.

Here are the various names of Crocus:

  • Hindi ­- Kesar, Zaffran
  • Sanskrit - Avarakta, Saurab, Mangalya, Kumkuma
  • English­ - Saffron
  • Gujarati - Keshar
  • Telugu - Kunkumapurva, Kunkummapurru
  • Tamil and Malayalam - Kunkumappu
  • Kannada - Kunkumakesara
  • French and German - Safran.

Stigma of Saffron contains more than 150 volatile and aroma yielding compounds. It also has many non-volatile active components, many of which are carotenoids including zeaxanthin, lycopene, and various α­ and β ­carotenes.

Characteristic components of saffron are crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal. The stigma of the flower possesses listless medicinal properties and used widely in traditional system of medicine.

Medicinal benefits:

  • In Ayurveda, saffron is used to cure chronic diseases such as asthma and arthritis.
  • It is also useful in treating cold and coughs.
  • Ayurvedic medicines containing saffron are used to treat acne and several skin diseases.
  • A paste of the spice can be used as a dressing for bruises and superficial sores.
  • Saffron enjoys great reputation as a drug which strengthens the functioning of the stomach and promotes its action.
  • Ancient texts on Ayurveda have information about the herb’s use as an aphrodisiac.
  • Prolonged intake of saffron improves memory and used in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
  • It is believed to boost immunity, improve sleep and muscle relaxant. Hence given to pregnant mothers in her final trimester of pregnancy.

Word of Caution

Saffron is one among the most expensive spices in the world. Because of its high cost, saffron is frequently adulterated with safflower, marigold stigma. So one must be careful while buying Saffron.


Image Credit: Wikimedia/ Safa Daneshvar


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