15 Impressive Saffron Benefits
Saffron is a type of cooking spice that is derived from the stigma of the flower of the plant Crocus sativus. Saffron is one of the most expensive commodities of the world also considered as "Red Gold". The largest producer of saffron is Iran from where these spices originated.
A pinch of saffron when used in dishes provides a distinct yellow hue, sweet earthy flavor and a honey-like aroma to the food. The amazing health benefits that come with saffron are brought to light in this article.
1. Treats Liver Obstructions
Considered the dirt of heaven, saffron has the resolvent property that has been declared as the major factor that improves liver health by Islamic medicine. It is said to be a powerful liver tonic that detoxes your liver. Liver obstructions are also said to be treated by the use of saffron.
Scientific studies have shown supportive findings on this hepatoprotective property. The decreased effect of anti-cancer drug vincristine on the liver by the use of saffron extracts has been observed in studies. Likewise, the prevention of fat accumulation in the liver, management of level of liver enzymes and prevention of liver cancer by the protection of liver cells against damage are some of the remarkable benefits of saffron on liver protection.
2. Facilitates Difficult Labor
Childbirth is one of the most painful experiences that a woman has to bear. Ancient medicines have discovered the oxytocic property of saffron that hastens the contraction of uterine muscles hence inducing labor. Direct ingestion of saffron, making preparation with rose water and sugar and use of vaginal suppository, all are said to facilitate delivery.
The risk of postpartum hemorrhage is also reduced by the oxytocic properties of saffron. The use of saffron helps in expelling the placenta in normal birth and fetal contents in abortion. Being a natural analgesic, saffron also has a pain-relieving effect. Supportively, studies have also proved the use of saffron to be associated with a shortened duration of labor favored by the relief of pain.
3. Improves Sexual Health
Crocin is the yellow pigment found in saffron. This important bioactive component has aphrodisiac properties. Calmness, improved mood and negative emotions are maintained by the use of saffron. Not only these but saffron also ameliorates sexual dysfunction by its diverse role in maintaining sexual health.
In men, an increase in libido, prevention of erectile dysfunction and improvement in semen quality are the positive effects of saffron. On the other hand, in females, increased blood flow in the genitals and improved sexual desire, arousal and lubrication were reported by the studies. Therefore, the consumption of saffron on a daily basis has a positive impact on sexual health.
4. Relieves PMS Symptoms
Some form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is said to be observed by three out of four menstruating women. Dysmenorrhea characterized by cramps and excess pain is one of the most severe forms observed in PMS. The property of saffron to facilitate the contraction of uterine muscles helps to ease PMS-associated dysmenorrhea.
The other observable effects of PMS include irritability, bloating and trouble sleeping. The mood-enhancing effect of saffron helps to lift up the mood making you less irritable. Adding to it, saffron has mild digestive benefits that keep away bloating and the compounds like crocin and safranal help to increase the quality and duration of sleep.
5. Helps To Manage Anxiety And Depression
The fragrance of saffron imparted by its compound safranal alone is sufficient to keep you happy. The characteristic odor possessed by saffron is said to decrease the stress hormone cortisol. The pleasing smell can be invaluably discovered in saffron essential oil which has a higher percentage of saffranal.
Saffron also possesses anti-depressive properties that enhance mood by increasing the level of the happy hormone serotonin. The exhilarating properties cause strong feelings of excitement and happiness. Kaempferol, the compound present in saffron petals is also beneficial in the treatment of anxiety. Hence, both the saffron petals and dried spices are beneficial in overcoming the symptoms and complications related to anxiety as well as depression.
6. Treats Eye Disorders
Saffron is the part of Kohl or collyrium used to treat eye disorders traditionally. Disorders like conjunctivitis and cataracts were treated with the use of Kohl at that time. The use of Kohl was also associated with improvement in the vision. Crocin and crocetin, the main bioactive compounds help to maintain eye health via their anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.
Studies have shown that saffron supplementation can have beneficial effects on the prevention of eye complications related to neural disorders such as glaucoma. The increased blood flow to the cells in the retina improves eye health. Also, saffron bears antimicrobial properties that mitigate the bacterial infections that invite such disorders. saffron.
7. Treats Respiratory Disorders
Saffron has been prescribed as a lung tonic traditionally. Safranal, the compound present in safranal is responsible for relaxing the respiratory muscles which exerts a beneficial effect as a tonic, reduces asthma-related complications, and improves the overall functioning of the lungs. It is considered an important food for lung health.
According to studies, the prevention of inflammation of the lung tissue is imparted by anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve asthma symptoms. Also, allergic asthma caused by exposure to allergens, is neutralised by downregulating the production of histamine.
8. Promotes Heart Health
Saffron has been used traditionally to treat palpitations and to improve the heart health. A high amount of cholesterol in the body increases heart attack and stroke as the blood vessels get clogged up and the body is unable to pump blood. Saffron helps to maintain the level of cholesterol in the body hence maintaining heart health.
On the other hand hypertension, the increase in blood pressure can also bring heart-related diseases. Saffron also helps to decrease the increased blood pressure. Studies have shown the consumption of saffron tea regularly to be associated with lowering high blood pressure. The inflammation of the heart related to irregular heartbeat and progressively heart failure is regulated by the anti-inflammatory property of saffron which puts heart-related disorders at bay.
9. Treats Cancer
Tumors are abnormal growth of cells that form lumps. Saffron has an inhibitory effect against tumors that was observed traditionally in uterine malignancies. The anti-cancer properties of saffron are brought about by regulation in the gene level of the cells.
A plethora of studies have been conducted upon the anticancer activities of saffron and its constituents. The relevance of saffron components crocin and crocetin with cancer prevention and cancer control has been found to be positively related. These studies have shown the effect of these compounds in enhanced tumor suppression without influencing the growth of healthy cells.
10. Reduces Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four out of ten Americans are affected by obesity. The causes of obesity can be multi-factorial, one of them being the oxidative stress in the body. The consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as saffron has been found to help reduce the risk of obesity by reducing weight.
The rise in adipose tissue level in the body seen in obesity is reversed by the bioactive compounds present in saffron. Glucose uptake and energy expenditure of muscles also rise. This exerts anti-obesity effects. Studies have shown saffron extract supplements to significantly reduce total fat, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio, which all are the indicators of obesity.
11. Promotes Sleep Quality
Saffron exerts hypnotic quality. This impact of saffron on the production of serotonin has a calming effect on the brain. Also, it increases the level of melatonin that is associated with the sleep-wake cycle. The regulated melatonin level gives you proper sleep at night.
Saffron is also helpful in insomnia as it reduces the level of stress hormone cortisol. If anxiety is the cause behind sleep deprivation, the anti-anxiolytic property of saffron can help to induce quality sleep. Hence, the resulting effect of saffron intake is an improvement in duration and quality of sleep. Drinking saffron milk before bed is recommended for getting a night of proper sleep.
12. Skin Benefits
Saffron has an ample amount of vitamin C . Vitamin C is an antioxidant that defends against the harmful UV rays from the sun. It reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. The secretion of collagen protein present in the skin is uplifted which helps to achieve tighter skin.
The antimicrobial property helps to fight off any kind of infections related to the skin. It is a natural skin tone balancer that hydrates the skin from within. Likewise, anti-inflammatory properties help in the rejuvenation of skin cells. Overall, saffron imparts a glowing touch and healthier skin with its protecting, nourishing and anti-aging properties.
13. Improves Brain Health
Apart from the aforementioned resilience to stress and anxiety, saffron also has memory-boosting power. The cognitive functions such as learning and concentration are also supported by saffron. The production of happy hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin makes serotonin a brain power enhancer.
Not only cognitive support but in the long run, crocin and crocetin can also be helpful in treating ADHD, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Hence, saffron is a mood booster, helps in memory lapses and also prevents brain disorders.
14. Boosts Immunity
You may be taking pills in order to fulfill your daily intake of vitamins. But this superfood is a natural pill packed with immunity-boosting vitamins. The regulation of inflammation helps the immunity system to function efficiently. Hence the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties makes saffron an immune-booster food.
Besides, immunity can also be degraded by stress which is downregulated by saffron. The mood-boosting capability of saffron helps the body to aid the immune system to function normally. Also, a proper amount of sleep induced by intake of saffron in an individual comes up with a strengthened and well-functioning immune system.
15. Enhances Absorption Of Medicines
The prescribed medications may not be working for you due to various factors. One of them is the hindrance in the absorption of these drugs in the body. Saffron regulates the absorption of these medicines in the body making their use effective.
Some of the studies have shown the bioavailability of saffron to increase the absorption of the drugs in the system. This can help you by making the low dose of drugs effective in the body and you don't have to bear unwanted high doses.
Nutritional Value of Saffron
According to USDA, one tbsp(2.1g) of saffron has the following nutritional content:
- Carbohydrate: 1.37 gram
- Calcium: 2.3 mg
- Magnesium: 5.5 mg
- Phosphorous: 5.3 mg
- Potassium: 36.1 mg
- Sodium: 3.11mg
- Vitamin C: 1.7mg
- Vitamin A: 11.1 IU
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