What is saffron used for
Saffron is derived by drying the stigmas of saffron Crocus Sativus flower. It is a beautiful purple flower that grows around 8-10 tall, and blossoms around 2 centimeters above the ground.
It is the costliest spice in the world. The amount of labor, time, and dedication that goes into the cultivation of kesar justifies the price.
Saffron stigmas are handpicked, dried, and packaged. Everything, right from planting to harvesting, is done manually.
It takes around 150,000 Crocus Sativus flowers to produce a kilogram of saffron. Besides, post-harvesting, the saffron farm can't be used to cultivate any other crop until the next saffron season.
Therefore the cost of producing saffron, both in terms of time and labor, is pretty high. Therefore, saffron costs a big buck.
Across the globe, be it the Greek or the Spanish or the Indian, kesar is widely used for its culinary merits. It bestows your dish an enticing aroma, exquisite flavor, and an attractive reddish-orange hue.
Along with its culinary merits, saffron is widely used for its medicinal properties. Ancient Indian and Chinese medicine have been prescribing saffron for various ailments for ages.
Health benefits of saffron
Kesar is helpful in:
a. Battling mild to moderate depression.
Finding a remedy for physical ailments is relatively easy. However, finding a trusted cure for mental illness is a challenging task.
Most of the medication prescribed to tackle mental illnesses have some severe side effects.
A systematic review conducted by Siddique et al. (2018) suggest that saffron may help manage mild to moderate depression.
As per contemplates, stamens of the saffron plant have some mystical energizer properties.
Saffron contains two crucial antioxidants: crocin and safranal, which aid the secretion of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
b. Reducing the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome.
Mood swings and disturbances are the most significant manifestations of premenstrual syndrome.
Saffron is thought to be an energizing agent that helps regulate mood swings.
It is also thought to relieve cramps and bloating of the abdomen commonly associated with menstruation. Therefore, kesar could be an effective way to help tackle the premenstrual syndrome.
c. Improving sexual function
Saffron extracts have been linked with improving libido, your sexual energy.
It has been associated with increased levels of androgen hormone in women. Androgen improves the health of the reproductive tract, thereby promoting sexual wellness and function.
Kesar is also thought to aid the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
d. Preventing cancer
Kesar is packed with a plethora of antioxidants. These antioxidants help lower oxidative stress, i.e., the damage resulting from the free radicals present in the body.
These antioxidants, therefore, curb the production of cancer cells in the body.
Moreover, research suggests that saffron could potentially be a natural, relatively side-effect-free alternative to chemotherapy.
e. Improving heart health
Stacked with potassium, saffron assists in the thinning of the blood and preventing blockages in the arteries.
It further brings down circulatory stress and forestalls coronary diseases and stroke.
Inflammation plays an essential role in cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The anti-inflammatory properties present in saffron helps bring down the risk of CVDs by effectively lowering inflammation.
The effect of saffron on your lipid profile is extraordinary. It effectively lowers bad cholesterol and elevates good cholesterol.
Therefore, kesar enhances heart health by lessening cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
f. Weight management.
Saffron is widely used to manage weight. It aids both weight loss and weight gain.
The way you consume saffron plays an essential role in weight regulation.
Saffron aids weight loss. The antioxidants present in saffron effectively assist you in losing weight. Therefore, consume saffron in the form of a tea or a concoction if you wish to lose weight.
Regular consumption of a saffron supplement, made by combining lukewarm milk and dry fruit powder and kesar, may also help gain weight.
Precautions and side effects
Although saffron consumption of saffron is safe for most people, you need to exercise a certain degree of caution.
- Avoid consuming saffron in high doses. Excessive consumption of saffron is not advisable as it may lead to digestive issues and may have a sedative impact.
- Make sure you do NOT consume more than 10 grams of saffron at a time.
- Saffron is safe for consumption when expecting. However, moderation is essential as it may lead to preterm labor and childbirth.
- Kesar is safe for consumption in infants over five months of age. It is also safe to consume during breastfeeding.
- Saffron regulates mood. Therefore, those with bipolar disorder should avoid the consumption of saffron.
- Allergies: those allergic to certain species of Salsola, Lolium, and Olea plants should avoid saffron.
Saffron is a luxurious yet must-have experience. It's healing properties are an excellent add-on to its exquisite flavor profile.