WHAT IS SAFFRON?

The threads or filaments of saffron spice are dried stigmas of Crocus Sativus Linnaeus. Every flower only has 3 stigmas. These threads should be hand- picked from every flower, and more than 70,000 of these is required in producing just 1 pound of saffron filaments, making it the most valuable spice in the world. However, due to saffron’s intense flavor and strong coloring power, it must be used carefully. Saffron gives any food intense flavor, revitalizing aroma and bright orange-yellow color.

Saffron Details

Overview

Saffron is a plant. The dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice. It can take 75,000 saffron blossoms to produce a single pound of saffron spice. Saffron is largely cultivated and harvested by hand. Due to the amount of labor involved in harvesting, saffron is considered one of the world's most expensive spices. The stigmas are also used to make medicine.

Saffron is used for asthma, cough, whooping cough (pertussis), and to loosen phlegm (as an expectorant). It is also used for sleep problems (insomnia), cancer, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), intestinal gas (flatulence), depression, Alzheimer’s disease, fright, shock, spitting up blood (hemoptysis), pain, heartburn, and dry skin.

Women use saffron for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Men use it to prevent early orgasm (premature ejaculation) and infertility.

Saffron is also used for to increase interest in sex (as an aphrodisiac) and to induce sweating.

Some people apply saffron directly to the scalp for baldness (alopecia).

In foods, saffron is used as a spice, yellow food coloring, and as a flavoring agent.

In manufacturing, saffron extracts are used as fragrance in perfumes and as a dye for cloth.

History

History of Saffron the most valuable spice in the world Although the origins of saffron are disputed to where it comes from, but considering the way that the Sowing takes place in the months of June and July and must be hot followed by The harvesting that takes place between the end of October-beginning of November and must be start of winter and should be cold. This makes Iranian weather condition perfect for this species of plant. Most confirm that it comes from Orient, because its cultivation was widely spread in Minor Asia far before the birth of Christ.

Human cultivation and use of saffron reaches back more than 3,500 years and spans many cultures, continents, and civilizations. Saffron, a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), has remained among the world's most costly substances throughout history. With its bitter taste, hay-like fragrance, and slight metallic notes, saffron has been used as a seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine.

Saffron was first documented in a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical reference compiled under Ashurbanipal. Since then, documentation of saffron's use over a span of 4,000 years in the treatment of some ninety illnesses has been uncovered. Saffron slowly spread throughout much of Eurasia, later reaching parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.

Saffron was also highly appreciated in the Classic Greece for its colouring and aromatic properties. It was used as a remedy to sleeplessness and to reduce hangovers caused by wine. It was also used to perfume bathing and as an aphrodisiac.

The English word saffron stems from the Latin word safranum via the 12th-century Old French term safran. Meanwhile, Safranum derives via Persian. Some argue that it ultimately came from the Persian or Arabic word , which is itself derived from the adjective (aṣfar, "yellow"). However, some give an alternative derivation arguing that is the arabicized form of the Persian word (zarparān) - "having yellow leaves". Latin safranum is also the source of the Italian zafferano and Spanish azafrán.

The saffron crocus is a genetically monomorphic clone native to Southwest Asia; it was probably first cultivated in or near Persia. The wild precursor of domesticated saffron crocus was likely Crocus cartwrightianus, which originated in Crete and Greece; C. thomasii and C. pallasii are other possible sources.

  Uses & Effectiveness

   Possibly Effective for

  • Alzheimer’s disease. Some research shows that taking a specific saffron product (IMPIRAN, Iran) by mouth for 22 weeks might improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease about as well as the prescription drug donepezil (Aricept).
  • Depression. Taking specific saffron extracts (NovinZaferan Co, Iran) by mouth seems to improve symptoms of major depression after 6-8 weeks of treatment. Some studies suggest that saffron might be as effective as taking a low-dose prescription antidepressant such as fluoxetine or imipramine.
  • Menstrual discomfort. Some research shows the taking a specific product containing saffron, anise, and celery seed (SCA, Gol Daro Herbal Medicine Laboratory) reduces pain during the menstrual cycle.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some research shows that taking a specific saffron extract (Department of Cultivation and Development of Institute of Medicinal Plants, Iran) improves symptoms of PMS after two menstrual cycles.

For Pregnant Lady:

Drinking saffron milk everyday during pregnancy makes your baby’s skin fairer Actual benefits of Saffron. Note:  Do not take more than 10 grams of saffron during pregnancy as it can become a uterine stimulant and may cause contractions.

  • Saffron acts as a good muscle relaxant which helps in pregnancy.
  • Saffron improves digestion and appetite by supplying the blood uniformly to all the parts of the body. This way, you can tackle constipation and nausea.
  • It forms a coat on the gastrointestinal tract and soothes the stomach from acidity.
  • It helps to control cough and loosen the phlegm. As most pregnant women have stuffy nose and are prone to infection, saffron can help control common cold symptoms.
  • It acts as an antidepressant and controls emotional stress in pregnant women.
  • Saffron also aids in controlling your mood swings, if consumed every day.
  • During pregnancy, skin becomes dry and dull. Saffron can be used in face packs to give a supple glowing skin.

For Eyes & Skin:

For Eyes:   A study has found that the spice saffron holds the key to stopping vision loss in old age and helps to keep vision sharp. Findings suggest that the spice reverses age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, the most common cause of blindness in old people.

For Skin:  It possesses therapeutic properties, and the potassium in it helps with cell formation and repair. Saffron benefits skin because it contains many vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial to the skin. It is anti-inflammatory and soothes skin. It is antifungal and can be used to treat acne.It is used for radiant and glowing skin and improves the skin texture.

For Hair:  Add one teaspoon saffron strands crushed or a little saffron powder to almond oil or olive oil in a bowl. Heat on low flame for 5 minutes. Once it attains room temperature, pour it into a bottle and store. Day by day, the beneficial ingredient present in saffron gets mixed with the oil gradually. Shake the bottle well and apply a little quantity over the scalp and hair regularly. This will protect the hair from damage and promotes hair growth as well as arresting hair fall.

Production

Purchasing the purest and finest saffron spice has something to do with ignoring myths that dominate the market. This is the main reason why we would like you to know the most recent figures on the global saffron production:

  • Italian Saffron – 100 kilos or less,
  • Spanish Saffron – 1mt. or less
  • Kashmir Saffron – 2/3 mt.
  • Moroccan Saffron 2/3 mt.
  • Greek Saffron 5.7 mt.
  • Afghan Persian Saffron 3 mt
  • Persian Saffron 150/170 mt.
  • Kashmiri Saffron