Saffron - A Golden Spice with Golden Health & Beauty benefits !
Saffron (Kesar): In the world of Ayurveda Saffron is known as “Varnya gana” or "Kumkuma", which means the one that reveals fairness and add glow to the skin. This reddish- golden, thread-like spice is one among the costliest herbs used in Ayurveda and even in Chinese and Unani medicinal preparations. It is the most expensive spice in the world by weight, 10 times more costly than vanilla. And the reason why Saffron carries such a hefty price tag is because its production is extremely labor intensive. It takes 80,000 crocus flowers to make only 500 grams of saffron after toasting.
Saffron is used in cuisines as medicinal herbs and food colouring agent throughout the world in European countries, North African, and Asia. The history of Saffron or Kesar plant’s origin and cultivation have been traced back to three thousand years in Central Asia. The saffron plant carries purple coloured flower having 3 stigmas. These stigmas or filaments are actually plucked when they dries up.
Saffron contains carotenoid called “Crocin” that gives bright golden-yellow colour & nice aroma to your recipes. Saffron or Kesar has also numerous health and beauty benefits that make it one of nature’s most powerful herbs. Saffron is bitter in taste and increase body fire. Saffron spice is also an effective anti-oxidant, is rich in vitamin & minerals and possesses anti-ageing properties. Saffron also acts as a great anti-depressant and is heart friendly spice.
Health Benefits of Saffron
Digestive System: Saffron helps to increase hunger. Also, lowers down Indigestion, Vomiting, Diarrhea and provides relief from acidity and gas related problems.
Excretory System: Saffron benefits in easy flow of urine and hence used in retention of urine.
Arthritis and improving Eye Vision:Saffron contains “Carotenoids” which are believed to be largely responsible for a number of saffron health benefits, such as improving arthritis and improving eye and vision health. Recent studies have shown that this aromatic herb may hold the key to prevent loss of sight in the elderly people. Also, Saffron has been reported to significantly help vision in the instance of cataracts.
Depression: A recent study has shown that Saffron can help treating mild to moderate depression disorder. This approach is promising but may not be prudent considering the fact that how expensive the spice is.
Insomnia: Saffron helps to cure sleep disorders like Insomnia. Taking a pinch of saffron in warm milk before going to bed helps to great an extent.
General health problems: Saffron helps in maintaining body temperature and useful in general health problem like headache, cough and cold. When saffron paste mixed with Sandalwood oil is applied on forehead, reduces fever and headache.
Blood Circulation: Saffron is considered as a blood purifier and increase the oxygen content of blood. It is also used as Cardiac Tonic and helps in treating diseases those results from Vitiation of blood.
Gum Soreness: Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Saffron can reduce gum soreness and inflammation in the mouth. Just massage saffron on the gums.
Injury: Saffron paste when applied on the injury helps speed up healing process.
Menstruation: Saffron helps to induce menses and can help to relieve pain associated with monthly periods. It also helps to reduce chronic problems with bleeding of the uterus. But one should always consult their health care provider before using any herb.
Saffron effects on Reproductive system
Reproductive System in Men: In Ayurveda this herb is used to manage circumstances such as low sperm count, low sperm motility, premature ejaculation etc. Saffron regenerates the reproductive system in men.
Reproductive System in Women: Saffron benefits in order to ease the “Catamenial” or menstrual blood flow and turns as an antispasmodic. Hence, it is used in order to ease delivery of baby, dysmenorrhea and earliest Amenia ( Amenia is the absence or cessation of mensuration)
Fry 5-6 Almonds in clarified butter grind them with milk and saffron to prepare a fine paste. This paste when consumed with warm milk in the night before going to sleep, restore the female and male reproductive system. It helps men who are suffering through a problem like low sperm motility premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and low sperm count.
Take precaution: Saffron should not be used in pregnancy because it may cause miscarriage.
Effect of entire body: This gorgeous reddish golden stigma helps to rejuvenate body and improve body immunity thus, increasing energy level.
Beauty Benefits of Saffron
For Acne: Saffron kills bacteria, making it ideal for treating acne. Also, because of its anti-bacterial and exfoliating properties it helps in creating brighter and clearer complexion.
For improving skin complexion: When we talk about applying saffron on face, we need the aid of another medium such as milk or water. To get fair, brighter and glowing skin you can try this method:
Saffron: 3-4 strands
Sugar: A pinch
Plain Bread: 1 small piece
Milk: 1 teaspoon
Water: 1 teaspoon
Olive Oil or Coconut Oil: 2-3 drops
Take a small bowl and pour water in it. Add saffron strands to the water and leave it overnight. By morning the water will turn in to yellowish colour. Add milk and coconut oil (or olive oil) to the water. Now take a small piece of bread and dip it in the mixture and wipe your face. If you notice some bread piece stick to your face then don’t worry just rub your face with your hands and hey will get off easily. Keep this mixture on your face for 15 minutes and then you can rinse it off with normal water.
This mask helps in the following manner:
Reduce dark circles.
Freshens and smoothen the skin.
Soothes nerves and relieves mental tension.
Reduces fatigue lines and delays wrinkles.
Stimulates blood circulation, resulting in an enhanced glow.
It is 100% natural and safe method.
It is believed saffron masks were used by queens and princess many years ago to maintain an everlasting glow and youth on their skin.
Note: You can try this method in the night also before going to bed but just remember to soak the saffron for at least 12 hours before it can be used. Saffron is a safe and time tested ingredient for improving complexion. The only catch is that this spice is considered to be a hot element; it can generate lot of heat in the body. Using saffron in the hot climate during summers can result in small breakouts over facial skin. So, the best idea is to use saffron in winters or cooler climate.
Important to Remember
Saffron is the most expensive spice all around the world and is in huge demand because of its health cum beauty benefits. Because of this reason there are many adulterated and fake products being dyed to imitate saffron.
You can perform a small test to determine whether you have bought fake or adulterated Saffron.
Take a bit of the product and dip it into warm water or milk. If you see the liquid colors immediately, then the saffron is fake or adulated. Because genuine saffron must be soaked in either warm water or milk for at least 15-20 minutes before it gives out deep red-gold color and aroma.
Please keep in mind. If saffron is used as a food additive, avoid using too much because using too much can give food a bitter and medicinal taste.
Also, remember when using saffron in supplement form, be sure to not exceed recommended dosages.And always consult your doctor before using any herb.