Health Benefits of Saffron
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 contains more than 100 components, but the three most promising appears to be : Crocin which is responsible for its orange color, Picrocrocin which provides its bitter taste, and Safranal which gives its aroma.
See below for in depth analysis of medicinal properties :
- The active components in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-oxidant, digestive, anti-convulsant.
- This novel spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
- It is also rich in many vital vitamins including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health.
- 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.
- Αlfa-crocin, a carotenoid compound, which gives the spice its characteristic golden yellow color, has anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer properties.
In medicine saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility. It has wide range of uses in Chinese and Tibetan medicines.
It has a long history in traditional healing and has been recently recognized for treating respiratory infections and disorders such as coughs and colds, scarlet fever, smallpox, cancer, hypoxia, and asthma. Other targets included blood circulatory disorders, insomnia, paralysis, heart diseases, stomach upsets, gout, chronic uterine haemorrhage, dysmorrhea, amenorrhea, baby colic, eye disorders, digestive stimulant, women menstrual pain, menopausal problems, and depression.
It also helps with memory loss, male impotency, encourages oxygen flow, speeds the healing of wounds, and prevents cell death.
Anti Cancer Properties
A growing body of laboratory evidence indicates that saffron does have anti cancer effects. This property was first described in papers by the Indian scientist S.C. Nair in 1991.
Some studies show that saffron can inhibit the growth of some types of skin cancer, as well as another type of tumor called sarcoma. Extracts of saffron have been shown to inhibit the formation of tumors and/or to retard tumor progression in a variety of experimental animal systems. Researchers found that feeding mice with a saffron extract prevented the formation of soft tissue sarcomas.
Saffron and Skin
As people are being more aware of benefits of saffron on skin and saffron uses, the usage of this precious spice is now improving just because, saffron is a natural product for its aroma, and it contains removing pimples, easing rashes, and smoothing face and skin properties.
(Medical disclaimer: The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.)