What is Saffron?
The dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus L. plant are used to make the spice saffron. Saffron is mostly used in cooking because of its capacity to provide color, flavor, and scent to dishes and beverages. Studies have shown handful of saffron benefits on health and nervous System. Saffron has special organoleptic qualities and is thought to be the most expensive spice in the world because of the challenges associated with its cultivation, harvesting, and processing. It is referred to as “red gold” for this reason as well as the color of the stigmas.
Saffron is thought to be of good grade when the concentration of the chemicals that give it its organoleptic properties is high. The product’s quality is also determined by the absence of additional ingredients, such as any other sort of food coloring, and by the minimal presence of additional components, such as flower remains, soil, and insects. Chemical testing has revealed that the saffron stigmas contain more than 150 different ingredients. (1)
Saffron’s most significant use is in food, where it is used to add color, flavor, and scent to various traditional recipes. In addition to being used as a spice, saffron has long been revered for its healing abilities.
Compounds Responsible for the Saffron Aroma
Safranal, the main ingredient, is one of more than 40 that have been linked to the saffron’s scent. Safranal makes up more than 65% of the total scent ingredients of the highest-quality saffron in the world. The ingredient that gives saffron its bitter flavor is called picrocrocin. It can make up up to 26% of the dry matter in saffron.
Saffron Benefits on Health and Nervous System
1. Improve Learning & Memory
Memory and learning changes are frequently linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Although the causes of this have not been found, memory loss is a common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It may be possible to avoid the impairment of learning and memory as well as the damage by oxidative stress in the hippocampus as a result of chronic stress by researching the protective effects of an extract of saffron and its glycosidic crocetin esters. (2) saffron extract treatment for seven days straight reduced learning and memory deficits and changed the oxidative stress markers.
2. Effect on Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the most common age-related neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s causes a severe decline in brain function. Studies have demonstrated that a water methanol extract of crocin and saffron taken in various quantities can prevent the production of amyloid -peptide fibrils. The inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity by saffron is another mechanism behind its anti-Alzheimer effects. Additionally, clinical research has demonstrated its efficacy in treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Although further human clinical trials are required, some research have suggested that saffron and its constituents have neuroprotective properties, with effects that are comparable to those seen in Alzheimer patients taking donepezil and nemantin. (3)
3. Effect on Parkinson’s Disease
Crocetin has been demonstrated to have therapeutic potential as well as the potential to lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Crocetin was administered in a number of dosages over the course of seven days to preserve the levels of thiobarbituric acid, a reactive chemical in the substantia nigra. This denotes lipid peroxidation-induced damage that was prevented by crocetin.
4. Improve Vision
By preventing photoreceptor degeneration and retinal dysfunction, crocetin treatment offers protective effects against retinal injury. (4)
5. Enhance Mood
Saffron and its metabolites have shown promise in treating a variety of mental diseases, such as anxiety and depression. Comparing the daily dosage of 30 mg of saffron to imipramine or fluoxetine in the treatment of depression, numerous research conducted in clinical settings came to the same conclusion. (5) Saffron may have antidepressant properties via influencing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin.
6. Improve Cardiovascular System
Numerous studies point out the potential benefit of crocin in the management of cardiovascular disorders. We have demonstrated a connection between the endothelial regulation of the vascular hyper reactivity of hypertension and the heart-healthy benefits of aqueous crocetin extract from saffron stigma. Therefore, crocetin can restore the impaired nitric oxide-endothelium-dependent vasodilation that occurs with hypertension. (6) According to a number of papers, saffron may operate as an antioxidant, have anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties, and hence have a cardio protective impact.
saffron benefits for female
Saffron is a potent spice that is high in antioxidants. It has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including increased mood, libido, and sexual function, as well as reduced PMS symptoms and weight loss. Best of all, it is generally safe for most individuals and simple to incorporate into your diet.
saffron benefits for male
It is used by men to avoid premature ejaculation and sterility. Saffron is also used to stimulate sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac) and to reduce sweating. For baldness, some people apply saffron directly to the scalp. Some research suggests that saffron might improve sperm function in men. However, the research has been inconsistent. Some preliminary research suggests that ingesting crocetin, a substance derived from saffron, may reduce fatigue in males after exercise.
health benefits of saffron tea
The abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in saffron tea can have a positive impact on health. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world since it must be manually picked. In an effort to save prices, suppliers occasionally combine saffron with other substances or utilize inferior sources. To receive the maximum nutritional value from your tea, make sure to choose a reputed brand when purchasing saffron.
Copper is also abundant in saffron and saffron tea. This mineral aids in the synthesis of red blood cells and functions as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage that can lead to chronic disorders.
Saffron Dosage and Side Effects
Saffron must be consumed in the proper quantity to be safe and effective. The majority of research are making it challenging to determine human doses. The doses listed are sometimes suitable for administration in food, but they are sometimes unacceptable, especially in trials involving safranal, because they will be given as part of the diet and not as a treatment.
Saffron has been used for ages as a food additive to add color and flavor, and historically, extracts and tinctures of the spice have been used to heal illnesses without any negative side effects.
At a daily maximum intake of 1.5 grams of saffron, no risks have been identified. Due to its former usage as an abortion drug because of its stimulating effect on the uterus, the lethal dose is 20g and the abortive dose is 10g. An intoxicated state that includes nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, hematuria, skin rash on the nose, lips, and eyelids, vertigo, and dullness can already be brought on by a daily intake of 5g. (7)
Saffron should not be consumed in large amounts while pregnant. More over 5g, which is far more than what is used in meals, can stimulate the uterus and have abortifacient effects. In a study, the spice’s safety was examined by having healthy volunteers divide into three groups and take tablets containing 400 mg every day for seven days. The study found that while saffron may change some hematological and biochemical parameters, any alterations were within normal ranges and involved no clinical disorders. (8)