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Saffron is a popular spice that can be acquired from a flower commonly called the saffron crocus. With the scientific name Crocus sativus, the stigmas of this plant can be dried and processed into a spice, which is actually the most valuable spice by weight. These “threads” as they are called, are typically reddish orange, the same color as the spice, and are carefully removed from flowers by hand. This herb is highly desired because of its ability to season and color food, as well as its inherent health benefits.
The most impressive health benefits of saffron include its ability to improve respiratory health, optimize the digestive system, eliminate pain, and improve sleep patterns. It is also able to prevent cancer, reduce bleeding, boost heart health, increase circulation, manage diabetes, strengthen bones, and improve the immune function.
The unique organic composition of saffron makes it a powerful addition to your diet, as it contains more than 150 volatile compounds, including carotenoids, safranal, crocin, antioxidants, and other biochemicals, as well as minerals and vitamins that are essential to human health. As per USDA National Nutrient Database, saffron contains, Vitamins A, C, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.
Although people often think of spices as nothing but food flavoring tools, they still contain high concentrations of certain important nutrients, including vitamin C. According to a study published in the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica, ascorbic acid is important for human health, as it stimulates the immune system’s production of white blood cells, the body’s first line of defense against illness. It is also crucial to the production of collagen, which is necessary for cellular production in the body and contributes to wound healing, muscle growth, blood vessel repair, and tissue production.
Saffron can function as an effective energy booster and can increase your metabolism by increasing your blood circulation. A study, which was conducted and later published in the Phytomedicine Journal, had a group of healthy volunteers evaluate the short-term safety and tolerability of saffron stigma tablets. These volunteers were divided into 3 groups of 10 each, ie 5 males and 5 females. After consuming these tablets for a week, it was noted that saffron decreased slightly some of the hematological parameters like the red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets, while increasing the sodium, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels.
The high concentration of iron in saffron means that it increases the RBCs in your body, which thereby stimulates circulation and the oxygenation of organ systems and the body’s extremities. This improves the efficiency and functionality of the tissues and organ systems for healthier metabolic activity and also prevents the symptoms of anemia.
Improving the health of the heart seems to be one of the top goals in human health today, and one simple way to do this is to increase your potassium intake. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, effectively lowering the stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries, allowing blood pressure to decrease and relieving strain on the cardiovascular system. This can prevent things like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes from occurring.
The significant levels of manganese can help the body optimize its blood sugar levels. Diabetes is one of the most dangerous and widespread conditions in our world today, affecting millions of people globally. By regulating your blood sugar, insulin, and glucose levels, you can effectively prevent the onset of type II diabetes or manage the symptoms if you already suffer from this affliction.
Saffron has been known to relieve mild depression and improve mood in those who regularly consume it. The many active compounds in saffron have some effect on the endocrine system and can stimulate the release of beneficial hormones that keep us happy and healthy. For women, this same effect has also been known to act as an aphrodisiac. It has been hailed as a natural antidepressant by numerous research studies and organizations.
Some of the minerals and organic compounds in saffron have been linked to optimized nutrient uptake, particularly of calcium. By maximizing the amount of calcium that our body can absorb from food, we have a better chance of improving bone mineral density and preventing the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and other degenerative age-related diseases.
The vitamin B family is one that is often overlooked in human health, but it plays a major role in nerve function throughout the body. More specifically, the high content of vitamin B6 found in saffron spice can help our nervous system is running smoothly and prevent some of the deadly and dangerous disorders that arise from poor nervous system function.
Pain relief is always a valuable property of an herb or a natural remedy, and the volatile compound safranal in saffron acts as a sedative for many patients. This sedative action can help relieve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep patterns, and generally soothe the mind and body, which is always a good thing!
With more than 100 different compounds acting within saffron’s complex form, antioxidants were bound to make an appearance. According to Dr. Miguel Coca-Prados’s (Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale University Medical School, USA) report published in the Cancer Letters Journal, saffron extracts are able to prevent the growth of cancer cells from developing or spreading in the body.
There is a compound called crocin in saffron, which happens to be water soluble as well as a great cancer therapeutic agent. Studies have also revealed that it helps to inhibit colorectal cancer cell as well as lung cancer cell proliferation.
One of the oldest and most well-known uses of saffron is for upset stomachs and excess flatulence. The sedative and anti-inflammatory nature of saffron help calm the stomach and reduce inflammation, which eases things like constipation, bloating, cramping, and other serious conditions like gastric ulcers.
As a topical tool used in massage, saffron oil and creams derived from the flower’s compounds can eliminate aches and pains throughout the body, while also relieving pain and discomfort. For people suffering from sports injuries, arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory conditions, this is a wonderful remedy. Also, for the topical healing of bruises and wounds, the quick-acting antioxidants in saffron can help speed the healing process.