SAFFRON – THE MARK OF TRADITION & PURITY
Saffron is a spice obtained from the stigmas of the flower of Crocus sativus Linnaeus, commonly known as Rose of Saffron.
The saffron filaments are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, each flower has just three such stigmas, it takes about 75,000 flowers to get a pound of saffron. A therapeutic plant, saffron is considered as an antispasmodic, which helps in digestion & increases appetite. In the past saffron has been used as a drug to cure infections like flu, depression and as a sedative. Saffron in small quantities is also considered to regulate women’s menstruation, and help in conception. It also has a high content of thiamin& riboflavin. Saffron is also believed to reduce melanin content in the epidermis on local application; to simply put it saffron could make a person fairer!
Although the origins of saffron are confusing, we can almost confirm that it comes from Orient, because its cultivation was widely spread in Minor Asia far before the birth of Christ.
One of the first historic references to the use of saffron comes from Ancient Egypt , where it was used by Cleopatra and other Pharaons as an aromatic and seductive essence, and to make ablutions in temples and sacred places. Saffron was also highly appreciated in the Classic Greece for its coloring and aromatic properties. It was used as a remedy to sleeplessness and to reduce hangovers caused by wine.
Arabs used saffron in medicine for its anaesthetic properties. It was the Arabs who introduced the cultivation of saffron in Spain in the X century. During the Middle Age, saffron became well known in Great Britain. The legend says that, in the period of Edward III, a pilgrim brought a bulb of saffron hidden in a hole in his stick from Middle East to the town of Walden. There the bulb was grown and reproduced giving prosperity to the town.
During the Renaissance, Venice stood out as the most important commercial center for saffron. In that period saffron was worth its weight in gold, and even today it is still the most expensive spice in the world. Nowadays saffron forms part of the culinary culture of different regions in the world:
In India saffron is an indispensable ingredient in many recipes of rice, sweets and ice-creams. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and in religious rituals.
In Saudi Arabia, a real Arabic coffee should have saffron and cardamom.
In the North of Italy and South of Switzerland, saffron is essential in the preparation of its famous Risotto.
In Sweden it is traditional to bake saffron bread on the day of St. Lucile.
Finally in Spain, saffron is an indispensable ingredient in such famous dishes as Paella, Fabada or PoteGallego.
Termed as a golden spice, saffron is indeed a very special and a precious spice which has numerous health benefits.
Saffron is used for the improvement of digestion and appetite.
Saffron is found to be extremely beneficial for providing relief from gas and acidity related problems.
Helps in curing insomnia (a pinch of saffron taken with warm milk in the night helps curing insomnia).
Saffron is a very popular answer to many skin problems, like dry skin, enhancing and lightening the skin tone etc.
Saffron is used for the treatment of kidney, bladder and liver disorders. It helps in improving circulation to the organs of digestion.
Saffron helps in treating various disorders like asthma, atherosclerosis, painful menstrual periods and even depression.
Saffron is considered as a blood purifier and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Massaging the gums with saffron helps in reducing soreness and inflammation of the mouth and the tongue.
Saffron is an antioxidant and has anti-cancerous properties.
Saffron being a blood purifier helps in increasing the oxygen content of the blood thereby aiding in the overall health and well being of a person.