"The Magic of Saffron”
The golden spice
Saffron or also known as Crocus Sativos is known as a medicinal plant that is native to the Orient and the Middle East, albeit there are also known some species originating from other regions that vary by their different smells, flavors, and appearances. These are:
- Spanish saffron: is considered by many the best saffron in the world.
- Afghanistan saffron: The spice shines in Afghanistan as it is a major producer, but additionally it is a product of great value
- Italian saffron: It stands out for the vividness of its tones and the thickness of the plant.
- French saffron: It stands out for its dark tones and bitter flavor.
- Eastern saffron: does not have such intensity in flavor or aroma.
These species have antioxidant, inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. In addition to these great virtues, it is known for its medicinal, culinary, and many other benefits that will be known later.
This beneficial plant displays a mesmerizing reddish color which is composed of violet-colored flowers and has a penetrating, but in turn aromatic aroma.
In addition, the characteristic flavor of this spice, composed of a sufficient bitterness, has become one of the causes of its popularity and precense of a lot of households. Interestingly enough, the beautiful petals of this flower do not provide any use, the protagonist is the stigma of red color because that is where this species comes from.
Curcuma vs saffron
It is very important that before getting into this species it is possible to highlight the difference between saffron and turmeric because these great varieties tend to be very confused. Initially, between them, it can be evidenced that turmeric is more bitter than saffron and of a more orange color while saffron is of a more reddish tone. On the other hand, although they may have similar functions, especially when it comes to cooking, it is very important to clarify that turmeric does not provide the representative factors that saffron can provide.
Benefits of the spice
To begin with, Saffron is known mainly for its value in gastronomy, as it provides a lot of color, flavor, and aroma to food, but it is very important to know that it is not only useful for cooking.
It is also useful in health, as it helps to reduce appetite thus producing weight loss, in women it helps to treat premenstrual syndrome and irregular menstruation and according to a study on the review of the antidiabetic potential of saffron “In diabetic rats, after consuming saffron extract, changes in blood sugar occurred, which included a decrease in fasting blood sugar, and a reduction of hyperglycemia in a high dose of saffron consumption combined with metformin. An increase in serum insulin levels and insulin secretion were also observed.” (Sani A, Tajik A, Sina S, Khadem R, Tootooni H, Taherynejad M, Sabet N, Mohammad S, Dana A and Deravi N., 2022)
These and many more are the benefits that this wonderful species can provide, despite it is important to delve into the uses that are mostly recognized for their effect.
In order to learn more about these, let's know a little about their functions in each of the fields in Saffron shines the most:
The spice in the food
In the culinary field, this spice is normally used in desserts, pasta, meats, and stews, however, it is especially known for rice because as we have already said, it provides a lot of flavor and aroma, but above all color. This is of much use because it does not need a lot of quantity to achieve a magnificent dish.
The red gold of health
This magical plant has different advantages for human health, one of the most important of which is indicated by the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest biomedical library, which states that "Overall, the phytochemical profile of saffron confers numerous beneficial virtues for human health and, in particular, for the prevention of age-related diseases, which is an important asset that reinforces the interest in this medicinal plant." (Bekhit, A., 2022, p.1)
It should be noted that it is of valuable importance as its benefits are increasingly known, everything it brings to the quality of life and the benefits for our health, especially mental health, in any case, that is, this plant helps the emotional imbalance and improve depressive states and it is thanks to its supplements that can improve the symptoms of depression.
Not only that, but it also helps to lower triglycerides, cholesterol, and vascular damage. In addition to this another study conducted by the national library of medicine on this magnificent plant, it is evidenced that "It was reported to improve the memory of mice affected by ethanol, effects on learning behavior and neuronal cell death" (Reza, A., Soodabeh, S and Kourepaz, M., 2013).
We have already talked about the great contributions that this species provides to the culinary field and health, but that is not all regarding the latter. Nowadays, more and more people become concerned about their well-being as well as their beauty.
The concern about one's image and esthetics falls mostly on skincare since it is a great source of security and confidence when talking about beauty, a great contributor to this care is nothing more and nothing less than saffron because the oil that this great plant produces contains anti-stain and anti-wrinkle properties that provide help with skincare and such care is essential to have it present in the routine of life.
It should be noted that these uses have been discovered over time because nowadays cosmetics and beauty products are known as the most popular products in the world.
What could be better than being able to cure and improve the quality of life with species that are not only natural but also full of benefits such as saffron?
It is very important to venture into the world of natural treatments since they do not produce side effects as some general medications can do, "For many people, the amount of medications they take is the worst.
They also describe the fatigue they get from their necessary and incessant medication routines and the fact that they know they will be dependent on medications for the rest of their lives."; So states the non-profit organization NPS Medicinewise. (NPS Medicinewise,2018)
Hence, these reasons invite you to venture into the natural world in order to leave behind the pharmaceutical industry that, although it has relieved us of discomforts has also been the cause of problems in our health.
- Bekhit, A. (2022) Saffron (Crocus sativus L.): A Source of Nutrients for Health and for the Treatment of Neuropsychiatric and Age-Related Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8839854/#:~:text=The%20analysis%20of%20publications%20from,or%20even%20treatment%2C%20cardiovascular%20diseases
- Reza, A., Soodabeh, S and Kourepaz, M. (2013). An overview on saffron, phytochemicals, and medicinal properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731881/
- NPS Medicinewise,2018 https://www.nps.org.au/living-with-multiple-medicines/benefits-and-disadvantages
- Sani A, Tajik A, Sina S, Khadem R, Tootooni H, Taherynejad M, Sabet N, Mohammad S, Dana A and Deravi N. (2022). A review of the anti-diabetic potential of saffron. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9335478/#:~:text=In%20diabetic%20rats%2C%20after%20consuming,insulin%20secretion%20were%20also%20observed.