Amazing Health Benefits of Saffron you Need to Know
By: Tasnim Elnasharty/Arab America Contributing Writer
Saffron is a spice with a strong fragrance and distinctive color. The spice is also rich in antioxidants, which may have many heath benefits. Early evidence suggests that saffron may boost mood, increase libido, and fight oxidative stress. Saffron is generally safe for most people to consume, and it is very simple to add it to a diet.
What is Saffron
Saffron is a spice from the Crocus staves flower, which is a cousin of the lily. The saffron derives from the stigma and styles – called threads – within the flower itself.
Farmers must harvest the delicate threads from each flower by hand. They then heat and cure the threads to bring out the flavor of the saffron. This extra makes saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world.
Benefits of Saffron
According to a 2015 review, the main active antioxidants include:
Other compounds include kaempferol and crocetin. These antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress and free radicals play a role in the development of many health conditions, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as these may help protect a person’s health.
Preventing Nervous System Disorders
The antioxidants in saffron may play a role in protecting the body from disorders affecting the nervous system. Research from 2015 notes that compounds in saffron, such as crocin, appear to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain. This may lead to beneficial effects. A study in the journal Antioxidants noted that saffron might theoretically help with Alzheimer’s symptoms due to both its memory-enhancing properties and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
There is also growing evidence that saffron may help improve mood and be a useful addition to treatment for depression.
Promoting Weight Loss
There is also some evidence to suggest that saffron may help promote weight loss and curb appetite. A study in the Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Research found that taking a saffron extract helped people with coronary artery disease reduce their body mass index (BMI), total fat mass, and waist circumference.
People who took the supplement also had a reduced appetite compared with those in the placebo group.
In Patchy Baldness
Saffron mixed in licorices and milk makes an effective topical application to induce hair growth in alopecia.
Protection Against the Common Cold
Saffron is a stimulating tonic and very effective to treat cold and fever; saffron mixed in milk and applied over the forehead quickly relieves cold.
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