Saffron is a type of crocus flower. Saffron spice, which is a common ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, is made from the dried, threadlike parts of the flower. Because it takes 75,000 flowers to get a single pound of saffron, it's considered the world's most expensive spice.
Saffron is commonly used as a coloring or flavoring agent, but it has also been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Now, you can find saffron in oral supplement form to treat a variety of health issues.
Saffron contains numerous health-promoting properties, including:
It also has large amounts of the following minerals:
The biological activity of this plant makes it an effective treatment for several health issues.
Saffron's health benefits include:
Alleviating Symptoms Associated with Premenstrual Syndrome
Saffron is known to help reduce the negative symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In one study, 60% of the women who took saffron supplements reported a 50% or higher reduction in 17 PMS-related symptoms.
The active constituents in saffron have antidepressant and antianxiety properties comparable to certain standard medications, including:
Additionally, people who take saffron for depression or anxiety report fewer negative side effects.
Preventing Heart Disease
The people of Mediterranean countries, where consuming saffron is common, have lower than normal cases of heart disease. This is likely due to saffron's anti-inflammatory properties and cholesterol-lowering benefits. The presence of crocetin in saffron reduces the level of bad kinds of cholesterol in your blood, which indirectly lowers your chances of experiencing heart attacks. Saffron's antioxidant content also provides added heart protection, and can even increase your body's antibacterial and antiviral activity.
Slowing the Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Research shows that people with Alzheimer's disease who regularly take saffron supplements have significantly better cognitive function than those who don't. Saffron's effects on dementia may be due to the way it's properties prevent the buildup of the protein beta-amyloid in your brain, which researchers believe is one of the potential causes of Alzheimer's disease.
Amounts and Dosage
For many studies on the effectiveness of saffron to treat depression, PMS, and Alzheimer's disease, the dose of saffron is 20 milligrams (mg).
Each saffron plant flower yields 7mg of saffron, and stores typically sell it in amounts of 30mg.
Saffron spice contains the following nutrients per 100 grams (g):
- Calcium: 111 milligrams (mg), which is 9% of your daily value
- Iron: 11.1 mg, which is 9% of your daily value
- Potassium: 1724mg, which is 37% of your daily value