Saffron, a beautiful, delicious and medicinal spice; also known as Zafran in Urdu and Kesar in Hindi, is in fact the stigma of the flower of Crocus sativus plant of Iridaceae family. It is grown in many parts of the world including Iran, Greece, Morocco, Italy and India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a very beautiful purple colored flower with orange-red stigmas or threads grown in cold, dry, well-irrigated and well-drained fertile soil.
Picrocrocin and safranal are two chemical compounds which give this spice its distinctive taste and smell while its color is due to the presence of a carotenoid pigment called crocin. It is a medicinal plant which can cure a variety of diseases.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Saffron
Physical Health Benefits of Saffron
Some of the physical health benefits of saffron include:
Saffron Contains Anti-Oxidants
Anti-oxidants present in saffron help in eliminating free-radicals left over from the metabolic reactions of the body, which in turn helps in keeping the body healthy and prevents diseases which is an important health benefit of saffron.
Saffron Promotes Health
Health benefits of saffron include promoting health of the body due to the presence of various minerals and vitamins such as Ascorbic Acid, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc etc.
Saffron Detoxifies the Body
One of the amazing benefits of saffron is that it helps in keeping the body healthy by eliminating all the harmful substances from it and detoxifying it.
Saffron is Good for Cell Functioning
Saffron promotes healthy cell growth in the body. Not only this, but it also helps in repairing the damaged cells. This happens due to the presence of various nutrients such as Potassium and Magnesium and constitutes one of the health benefits of saffron. It also contains collagen which helps in cell production.
Saffron is Good for Digestion
Saffron is very good for digestion. It also prevents flatulence and helps in curing enlarged spleen and liver. In addition to these health benefits, saffron or kesar is a powerful anticonvulsant. It helps in things like constipation, bloating and ulcers etc. due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Saffron Helps in Making Hemoglobin
Iron present in saffron or Kesar helps in the formation of the pigment hemoglobin present in Red Blood Cells of the blood. This helps in promoting the oxygen transportation in the body and is one of the health benefits of saffron.
Saffron Acts as a Pain-Reliever
Saffron is a powerful analgesic. This pain relieving health benefit of saffron is due to the presence of a chemical compound safranal which is a powerful sedative and helps in relieving pain.
Respiratory Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron has various respiratory health benefits, some of those are mentioned below:
Saffron is Beneficial in Curing Cough and Cold
Saffron helps in curing cough and cold by acting as an expectorant and loosening the phlegm in the throat and it also prevents soreness of throat, thereby helping in cough. Topical application of the mixture of saffron in milk on forehead relieves cold.
Helps in Asthma
Saffron is a stimulant as well as an anti-inflammatory substance, both of which are beneficial in fighting asthmatic attacks. Asthma basically means narrowing of respiratory tract due to inflammation and saffron helps in fighting it.
Benefits of Saffron in Curing Whooping Cough
As we have already gathered, health benefits of saffron includes its quality to act as an expectorant and a stimulant and therefore helps in curing respiratory disorders such as whooping cough.
Immunity Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron has been known to develop immunity. Some of the health benefits of saffron that increase immunity are given below:
Saffron Develops Immunity
Health benefits of saffron include immunity development. It develops immunity by producing white blood cells which form body’s first line of defense against foreign pathogens. This is due to the presence of various nutrients and vitamins especially ascorbic acid or vitamin C.
Saffron is Anti-Cancerous
Anti-cancerous health benefits of saffron are due to the presence of various chemical compounds such as zeaxanthin, lycopene and α and β carotene. They act as immuno-modulators and prevent cancer. Also, it contains crocin which prevents cancer by causing Apoptosis i.e. programmed cell death in tumor cells.
Mental Health Benefits of Saffron
Mental stimulation is one of the most important health benefits of saffron. Some of them are as follows:
Saffron Reduces Stress
It affects the endocrine system and is known to reduce stress which actually constitutes one of the most wonderful health benefits of saffron. It is anti-stress and prevents oxidants induced stress and lightens the mood as well.
Acts As Anti-Depressant
Neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are modulated by crocin and safranal present in saffron which helps in reducing depression. It works wonders in reducing mild to moderate depression without using any medicines.
Saffron Prevents Insomnia
Health benefits of saffron include its sedative properties and presence of anti-oxidants, both of which help in reducing insomnia and promoting peaceful sleep which is quite necessary in today’s changing lifestyle.
Saffron Increases Memory
In Japan, saffron is used for treating loss of memory and Parkinson’s disease as it helps in preventing age related mental degradation due to the presence of various compounds especially crocin. It increases memory and the retention power of the brain.
Heart Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron also keeps the heart healthy. Some of its health benefits pertaining to the heart can be seen below:
Saffron Reduces Blood Pressure
Potassium which is constituent of saffron is a vasodilator i.e. it dilates the blood vessels and thereby decreases blood pressure and prevents disorders like atherosclerosis (hardening of the vessels).
Prevents Heart Attack
By lowering blood pressure, saffron reduces the strain from the heart and cardio-vascular system and lowers the heart rate. Crocetin, a compound present in saffron has the ability to lower cholesterol levels.
Hormonal Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron also controls endocrine glands to certain extent. Some of the hormonal health benefits of saffron are as follows:
Benefits of Saffron in Preventing Diabetes
Saffron health benefits include lowering blood sugar level by preventing insulin resistance which is a condition in which insulin is formed by the pancreas but the body tissues and cells become resistant to it. Thus, saffron prevents diabetes and this is due to a chemical compound present in saffron called crocetin.
Saffron or Kesar Prevents PMS
Due to the ability of saffron to influence neurotransmitter serotonin, it helps in fighting PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) which is caused by various hormones. It also regulates mood and behavior which is usually whacked before periods. It also controls the loss of blood during menstrual cycle.
Helpful During Pregnancy
One of the health benefits of saffron is that it promotes the flow of blood towards the pelvic region during pregnancy. It also regulates mood swings caused by hormonal changes in the body. It suppresses cramps in pregnant woman. But large doses of saffron can be harmful as they can cause abortion, so saffron should be taken in moderation during pregnancy.
Eye Health Benefits of Saffron
Eye health benefits of saffron include preventing Macular Degeneration which is a condition in which light sensitive cells of the retina start degenerating and is usually an age related issue. Crocin and crocetin present in saffron help in preventing cell death.
Sexual Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron is a well-known sexual enhancer. Some of its effects are as follows:
Saffron Enhances Male Vitality
Saffron has the sexual health benefit of being a sexual stimulant and increases libido if taken in a glass of milk before sleeping. It increases vitality even in older people.
Prevents Premature Ejaculation
Saffron is known for its property to prevent premature ejaculation or orgasm in men. It also helps in Erectile Dysfunction.
One of the health benefits of saffron is that it increases fertility in men by increasing number and vitality of sperms.
Saffron as an Aphrodisiac
Saffron is a powerful aphrodisiac especially for women due to its influence on endocrine glands. It increases sexual urge and fervor in women.
Saffron Helps in Delayed Puberty
Saffron acts as a stimulant to girls who have delayed puberty to bring about the changes in body due to its effects on endocrine glands.
Skin Health Benefits of Saffron
Saffron works wonders for the skin. Many of the creams and lotion available in the market boast of being made from saffron. Some of those benefits are:
Saffron has anti-oxidants which have anti-ageing properties and hence it has the health benefit of keeping the skin young and wrinkle free as well as glowy and radiant.
Lightens the Complexion
Topical application of saffron on face can help in lightening the complexion and keeping the skin blemish-free.
Saffron as a Lip Balm
Saffron helps in healing cracked and chapped lips. This health benefit is due to the presence of vitamin B2 or Riboflavin in saffron.
Topical application of saffron or kesar and milk paste on the face helps in getting rid of pimples, acne, blemishes and black spots. This health benefit of saffron is a true treasure for those who are suffering from skin problems.
Hair Health Benefits of Saffron
Just like skin, it is also quite useful for hair. Some of those uses are given below:
Saffron Prevents Hair Loss
One of the health benefits of saffron is that it helps in strengthening the hair as well as preventing hair fall.
Saffron as a Cure for Baldness
Treatment of Alopecia or baldness by the topical application of saffron is one of its health benefits. Saffron and liquorice mixed in milk help in getting rid of alopecia.
Other Amazing Health Benefits of Saffron
It is considered by some scientists that taking a saffron product (IMPIRAN) by Alzheimer’s patients proved to be as effective as donepezil which is a drug given to Alzheimer’s patients.
Saffron or Kesar Helps in Arthritis
Health benefits of saffron include prevention and treatment of age related diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis. This is because saffron helps in optimizing the uptake of some minerals and nutrients particularly calcium.
Saffron as a Culinary Spice
Saffron is used as a spice in various dishes and desserts all over the world.
Saffron has analgesic, antiseptic and sedative properties. They help in curing toothache. In babies who are getting their teeth, a lotion made of honey and saffron is applied in Morocco using a gold ring to get rid of the toothache.
Weight Loss Benefits of Saffron or Kesar
Saffron promotes release of serotonin which suppresses hunger and therefore, helps in controlling obesity. So if you have been trying to lose weight for quite some time and couldn’t seem to lower it, you should include saffron in your diet plan.
A word to the wise, even though saffron is a treasure trove of health benefits; excess of anything is harmful. So using saffron in excess should also be prevented.