Saffron is a precious spice that ranks at the top of the spice ladder. It’s even more expensive than gold in terms of its weight. In India it is called ‘Kesar’ as well as ‘Zaafran’. It is considered as the spice of Gods therefore it is used in festivals, religious ceremonies and weddings. It is considered highly auspicious. It has immense qualities. It is in the form of tiny threads. It infuses a beautiful orange-yellow hue in whatever it may be added into. A few strands are enough to give fantastic results. It has innumerable uses. Let’s discuss some of the significant uses here.
- Use in ancient times
Due to its medicinal properties saffron was used in ancient times for treatment purposes. It is highly beneficial in treating recurring sinusitis, weak lungs, low vitality and upper respiratory functions. It is also given to asthma patients. Some modern researches have shown that use of saffron can protect against cancer. This is due to the presence of some active components in saffron.
- Used as an aphrodisiac
Saffron is known to be used as an aphrodisiac in the ancient times. It was used by the kings and other royalty to improve their libido. Even in modern times, there have been studies to show the positive effects of taking saffron to improve one’s mood and sexual desire. It can even cure erectile dysfunction.
- Improves mental conditions
Certain studies have established that saffron extracts, which gives saffron its bright orange-red colour, is beneficial in treating mental impairments like memory loss and Parkinson’s disease. Therefore many people are given saffron dissolves in warm milk particularly at night for it to have effect.
- Helps to improve immune system
Saffron if consumed in black tea which has cardamom, ginger and honey added to it, works to boost one’s immune system. Carotenoids present in saffron are a big immune system booster. It also helps to reduce inflammation.
- Reduces depression
Saffron is known to work as an anti-depressant as the stigma of saffron is known to have some antidepressant properties. In Ayurveda the ancient medicine system saffron is used to make medicines to treat depression. If used regularly depression can be treated effectively.
- Cures PMS cramps
Females can have severe pain in the abdomen during their menstrual period and also suffer from mood swings. If those females are given saffron it helps to treat mood swings and reduce stomach cramps considerably. Regular use may prevent the recurrence of abdominal cramps.
- Use of saffron in Diabetes
As saffron constitutes of crocin, picrocrocin and safranal, these are known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for patients of diabetes. Hydroalcoholic extract of saffron may improve blood glucose control considerably, by reducing FBS-serum levels in Type 2 Diabetes patients in particular.
- Treats seasonal flu effectively
If you are suffering from cold and cough then you must take a decoction of tea leaves boiled in water with a few strands of saffron. It will help to clear your sinuses and make breathing easy. Moreover the antioxidants present in saffron will help to sooth your throat. This is the best way to boost your immunity.
- Reduces BP and improves heart health
Saffron being high in potassium helps to dilate the blood and aids to clear blockages if any in the arteries. This goes on to regulate the blood pressure and prevents a person from having strokes.
- Prevents skin ageing
Possessing healing properties saffron has immense beauty benefits. It is a potent ingredient used in skin creams and lotions. Being rich in antioxidants it helps to fight against the free radicals and therefore, against ageing. It clears complexion like nothing else can. It is used traditionally mixed with fuller’s earth to make a face pack for topical skin treatments.
- Used to lighten skin
Saffron is specially used to lighten blemishes on the skin and making it glow. Mixed with milk and massaged into the skin it shows excellent results. In India pre bridal beauty treatments will always have saffron based creams and packs for topical skin treatments.
- Saffron bath for glowing skin
In order to make your skin glow and look healthy you can mix a few strands of saffron in your bath water with a glass of milk. Soaking in the tub with this saffron infused water for half an hour will leave your skin shiny and supple.
- Helps to sleep well
In case if you suffer from insomnia and you do not want to take sleeping pills then the best thing to do would be to consume saffron in warm milk just before hitting the bed. This would insure childlike sleep.
- May have cancer fighting properties
As saffron is rich in antioxidants it helps to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals damage can be one of the causes of cancer. Studies have revealed that saffron can kill certain cancer cells and even supress their growth to a great extent. This is due to the presence of crocin in saffron.
- Helps to reduce appetite and aids in weight loss
Many people suffer due to binge eating and putting on weight. Snaking often leads to piling up of extra pounds. According to a research saffron can really help you in curbing your appetite. Now how wonderful is that? It can very well reduce your weight, BMI and your fat.
- Manage pain
Saffron is definitely a magic spice as it has been used as a pain reliever since ancient times. It is particularly beneficial in managing stomach cramps which may be due to menstruation or otherwise. The pain can be very well eased with by taking a decoction of warm milk and saffron.
- Helps to increase Haemoglobin
Many people in the developing world suffer from anaemia. Some women in particular have low levels haemoglobin levels due to monthly blood loss. As saffron is rich in iron it helps haemoglobin formation rather rapidly and smoothly. Regular consumption of saffron can really boost haemoglobin levels.
- Boosts hair growth
Falling hair is a common problem these days. Some people may even suffer from baldness. Applying saffron on the scalp is known to treat baldness which is also called alopecia. All you have to do is to mix milk, saffron and liquorice (also known as licorice) and apply it on clean scalp. Wash it off after an hour. This really helps to stimulate hair growth.
- Helps to fight acne
If you are suffering of acne then saffron could be your best bet. As saffron boasts of amazing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, it is an ideal ingredient for treating acne and breakouts. It has fantastic medicinal properties that can help in clearing up acne prone skin faster than anything else. Just make a paste of crushed basil leaves with a few strands of saffron and apply it on your face. Wash off when dry. Regular use will heal the acne and you will have clear glowing skin.
- Helps to clear scars
Saffron has excellent healing properties which can accelerate the process of skin recovery. If you have any scars on your skin due to injury or acne Saffron can help lighten the marks in the long run. Make a smooth paste with coconut oil and two teaspoons of saffron. Apply this mixture directly on the scars. Regular application will heal the scars and the marks to fade in time.
Looking at the above uses it is clear that Saffron is a magical spice with immense uses. Make it a regular ingredient in your kitchen cupboard and use it for various purposes and reap the benefits of this king of spice. You will never regret it.