Often likened to luxuriant gold, saffron tops the list of the “World’s most expensive spice”. Indian culture has a long-standing relationship with saffron. Not only has it become a substantial part of our culinary endeavors and experiments but it also plays an important role in our customary rituals.
The earliest saffron cultivation started over 4,000 years ago. Derived from the dried stigma of the purple saffron Crocus, a yield of one kg worth of Saffron requires 32,000 – 115,000 flowers. A rare celebrity in its own right, a kg of ‘Kesar’ costs anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 2,75,000. Let’s not get startled by the price just yet, the impressive health benefits of saffron will certainly lure you into buying some for yourself.
1. Protects against cancer.
After a lot of extensive research, scientists vouch for saffron’s effectiveness for preventing cancer. The active components present in saffron can check the growth of malignant tumors and cancer cells. The antioxidative composites (Safranal, Picrocrocin, Crocetin and Crocins) in saffron further reduce DNA damage caused by cancer medications and chemotherapy. Further, unlike other drugs, saffron is 100% safe with no side effects.
2. Saffron against heart ailments.
Here’s a pro-tip for people with heart ailments – Dissolve 50 mg of saffron in a 100ml glass of warm milk and drink it twice in a day! How would this help? Saffron helps reduce levels of lipoprotein oxidation in patients suffering from coronary heart diseases. Kesar, as we Indians call it, thins the blood, reduces the heart rate and in turn reduces the blood pressure.
3. A remedy for toothaches.
A remedy practiced by many Moroccan elders, saffron along with honey proves to work magically against relieving tooth pain, especially amongst the newborns! Here’s a quick DIY.. Take a gold ring and coat it with a layer of honey and saffron. Gently massage the gums with the ring and voila!
4. Pssstt.. saffron for vitality and libido.
Surely, we must have seen this in countless Bollywood cliche films where the groom downs a glass of Kesar milk just before his “suhagraat’ Saffron, a well-known sexual stimulant, increases libido naturally.
5. Menstruation relief.
Irregular periods and stomach cramps have always been an area of concern. Instead of popping pills and meds, we suggest going the natural way! A study published in ‘BJOG’ claims that consuming 3 mg of saffron a day leads to reduced premenstrual syndrome in women with regular menstrual cycles and reduced cramps.
6. Fighting the common cold.
Suffering from bouts of cold and chills? Worry not, take a cloth dipped in saffron and milk and gently rub it over your forehead. Saffron, a stimulant tonic, quickly relieves cold and reduces body temperature by dissipating the heat.
7. For Your Eyes only.
Season some saffron to your daily tea and relish the magic. The high ‘Carotenoid’ content in saffron helps in protecting the retina and the delicate eye lens. It helps to delay or stop age-related macular degeneration and aids repair of retinal cells, thus enabling perfect vision for a number of years.