How adding a pinch of saffron to your food daily can magically improve your health?
A pinch of health- Saffron
Kesar also known as Saffron is an ancient spice, which has been no less than a treasure trove. This exquisite and expensive spice has been a part of our rich culinary heritage. This age-old spice was once a prized possession of the Royals and Elites. From the Greek culinary culture to Indian culinary legacy, this premium spice has marked its way across the world. This spice was also used by several civilizations for its medicinal benefits. But have you ever wondered why and what makes saffron a magical spice? Well, here’s all you need to know about this age-old miraculous spice and its health benefits.
Why was Saffron a prized possession?
Saffron popularly known as Kesar in Hindi has been one of the oldest herbs known to mankind. It is believed that the traces of this ancient spice were found in the Bible, wherein it is believed to be the 14 herbs mentioned in Bible psalms 104:14,”God provides us with “herbs for the service of man”.
Right from Greece to Eurasia to North America to the Asian subcontinent, this spice has paved its way through various cultures and has been an unspoken prerogative of the royals. But have you ever pondered, what makes this magical herb so expensive. Well, the answer to this mystery, begins with it’s enticing fragrance, colour and its medicinal properties that have made this age-old herb a magical dose of health
What is saffron ?
Scientifically known as saffron crocus is extracted from a beautiful flower Crocus sativus. Saffron is basically the stigma of the flower and is used after drying the extracts. This process gives Kesar a rich colour, texture and aroma.
Widely saffron has been used as a seasoning and a natural colour for delicacies. it is believed that saffron gets its name from an Arabic word Zaffran.
How was saffron used and why adding to diet is a good idea
Right from accentuating the taste of sweets to adding a rich aroma and colour to exquisite delicacies like Biryanis, Curries, Kesar has been a quintessence of several Culinary cultures. Since ages, from Khansama to Chef’s to grandma’s recipes, Kesar has been an inseparable part of Indian culinary legacy; Even according to the books of Ayurveda, it was believed that even a few strands were enough for a healthy body and mind.
According to Meghna Krishna, Clinical Nutritionist, “The history of saffron can be traced back to 3000 years. Kumkuma or saffron is one of the costliest spices used in Ayurveda. It balances the Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas in our body. It has antioxidants that boosts immunity and has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. The medicinal properties of saffron are numerous. It has beneficial effects on skin, digestive system, circulatory and excretory system, nervous system (uplifts mood and fights depression; hence it is also known as a sunshine spice. There are several ways of adding this wonder spice to the diet but the best way to derive its maximum benefits is by drinking saffron milk around the bedtime or saffron water on an empty stomach.”
Health benefits of Saffron
Since ages, this miraculous spice has been used for its amazing medicinal properties, which can prevent as well as cure several health issues. Apart from that, Saffron has been a great spice to boost immunity and keep seasonal ailments at bay. As the world is battling the deadliest pandemic Covid-19, the need to stay fit and healthy has become even more important.
Hence, adding immunity boosting foods to the daily diet can help in improving health. Last but not the least, what makes this spice a magical herb is that it is loaded with carminative, diaphoretic and aphrodisiac properties. So, here are a few more reasons why you must add this magical herb to your daily diet.
Reduces depression and PMS issues
The hectic lifestyle and increasing stress has pushed people to a level where they end up suffering from several physical and mental issues. Where there’s always a quick treatment to physical ailments, finding a cure for mental ailments do take time. According to the books of Ayurveda, kesar has been one of the active ingredients used for creating antidepressant medicines.
According to studies, the stigma of saffron plant has some magical antidepressant properties. The presence of two components in saffron: crocin and safranal can effectively help in stimulating neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These components can effectively aid mild to moderate depression and are mostly used in traditional psychiatric medications.
“Saffron – one of the most highly-priced spice works wonders when consumed on a regular basis. Saffron has certain chemicals which help one boost its mood and releases stress hence it works great for depression, anxiety, and fights Insomnia. During PMS it also helps in regularising mood swings and refrains from menstrual cramps,”said Tanya S Kapoor, Nutritionist, Wellness by Tanya,
Increases sexual drive
Since ages, this little plant extract has been known for its amazing aphrodisiac properties. Enriched with the goddess of nature, saffron naturally increases the sexual vitality both in men and women. Saffron has been used for treating age related erectile dysfunction. It has strong aphrodisiac properties, which can further help in improving the androgen levels in females. “Adding Saffron in diet can have magical benefits on your health if taken in moderation. Saffron is a superfood as it boosts immunity power and strength. Research has proven that saffron is effective in treating infertility. It increases the libido in men and women alike. Couples struggling with infertility should consume saffron to improve chances of conception. It is advised to take not more than 1.5 grams in a day.” Said Dr Rita Bakshi, Senior Gynaecologist and IVF Expert, International Fertility Centre.
Helps in fighting seasonal ailments
Saffron tea or saffron mixed with warm milk can keep seasonal ailments like cold, cough and fever at bay. The warm nature of this magical herb helps in relieving the discomfort caused by the flu and cold.
“Saffron has exceptional benefits and is not just used as a food colouring agent or to add flavour in one’s dish. The quality of being high in antioxidants makes it a perfect measure to cure one’s cold and flu,”says Tanya S Kapoor.
The presence of antioxidants makes this wonder herb a great remedy for seasonal issues. Apart from that, it also helps in boosting immunity, which is essential to sustain virus attacks and other ailments.
Reduces blood pressure and improves heart health
Loaded with the goodness of potassium, consuming saffron everyday helps in dilating the blood, which further removes blockage from the arteries. This further reduces blood pressure and prevents heart attacks and strokes.
This article is adapted from