Picture by Mehdi Torabi
Health Canada classified Saffron (crocus sativus) as a Natural Health Product (NHP) under the plant or plant material of the NHP Regulations. In addition, Health Canada has approved many NHPs in Homeopathic remedies.
Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants. Notable saffron antioxidants include crocin and crocetin, they are carotenoid pigments responsible for saffrons bright vibrant red color. Both these compounds have, among others, antidepressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation and enhance bone health.
Source of antioxidants
Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants, in other words, molecules that protect your cells against free radical and oxidative stress. Notable saffron antioxidants include crocin and crocetin, they are carotenoid pigments responsible for saffron bright vibrant red color Both these compounds have antidepressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation, reduce appetite, & aid weight loss.
Saffron helps reduce the symptoms of perceived stress, such as fatigue, weariness, and irritability. Studies have shown that Prozac is just as effective as saffron and curcumin when used as an antidepressant. One particular study showed that saffron alleviated feelings of social phobia and mild depression in young people. This study concluded that taking standard saffron extract for eight weeks significantly improved symptoms, according to the adolescents who participated.
Relieves depression and supports brain health
Saffron has been nicknamed the “Sunshine Spice”. Other studies found that taking 30 mg of saffron daily was just as effective as Fluoxetine, Imipramine, and Citalopram — conventional treatments for depression. Additionally, fewer people experienced side effects from saffron compared to other treatments. While these findings are promising, longer human studies with more participants are needed before saffron can be recommended as a treatment for depression; however, the effects will show themselves as you start with a cup of saffron tea a day.
Helps control diabetes
Significant levels of manganese are found in saffron. Manganese can help the body balance blood sugar levels. Maintaining the levels of blood sugar in the body can also help regulate the amount of insulin released from the pancreas. Thus, a person is less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and more likely to manage symptoms if already afflicted.
Saffron is also known as a natural aphrodisiac, as it contributes to the improvement of blood circulation and activates the production of hormones which increase the sensitivity of mucous membranes. As also demonstrated by a research done by the Department of Food Science of the University of Guelph in Ontario, regularly consuming quantities of saffron would improve the quality of sexual performance, with aphrodisiac effects on both men and women.
Enhance bone health
Include saffron in your diet to help prevent the development of conditions like age-related diseases and osteoporosis. Saffron contains various compounds and minerals that help with optimum bone health. One of saffron’s most important contributions to bone health is its calcium inclusion. Not all calcium that is ingested through food and supplementation is absorbed in the body. A calcium-rich diet is essential for overall health, but it’s particularly vital for bone health. You should ensure that your body is getting the calcium it needs to keep bones strong. Saffron can help in its uniquely delicious way.
Treats inflammation and pain
Saffron reduces inflammation with conditions like gout or athletic injuries. Creams and ointments that contain saffron help to reduce pain by targeting inflammation. Saffron also contains a wealth of antioxidants that can speed up the healing of wounds and bruises. A saffron mix can help topically for pain relief results. Since there are very few side effects associated with this healthy spice, it’s not surprising why many pharmaceutical companies are researching new drugs that will contain saffron.
Helps protect against cancer
Saffron contains a carotene called crocin, which contributes to its golden color. Research suggests that crocin can trigger cell death (also known as apoptosis) in a variety of cancers, including leukemia, ovarian carcinoma, colon adenocarcinoma, and soft tissue sarcoma.
Saffron has over one hundred active components that inhibit malignant cancer cells without harming normal cells. The antioxidants found in saffron neutralize free radicals, which are by-products of cell metabolism. This boosts the health of the immune system and prevents cancer from developing and spreading.
As confirmed by Dr. Mokhalalati – doctorate from the University of London (UK) and an author of many books and publications on human nutrition – Health Canada approved the plant for many purposes: saffron supports cognitive health and brain functions; represents a source of antioxidants for the maintenance of good health; helps to support healthy mood balance; helps to reduce the symptoms of perceived stress, fatigue and irritability.
Many Beneficial Effects on Your Health
Saffron has a history of being a medicinal plant. In fact, Saffron is rich in mineral salts, especially potassium, phosphor and magnesium whereas the most abundant vitamins are vitamin C and folate.
Nutritional values per 100 gr (3.5 oz) of saffron:
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
|0.11 mg (8.2% RDA)
|Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin
|0.26 mg (16.7% RDA)
|Vitamin B3 or Niacin
|1.46 mg (8.1% RDA)
|Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine
|1 mg (50.5% RDA)
|93 µg (46.5% RDA)
|80 mg (134.7% RDA)
|27 µg (3.4% RDA)
The components present in saffron and in particular safranal, crocin and crocetin, give saffron very beneficial properties for health. In particular, it is known for regulating the mood and for its beneficial effects on the digestive system, effectively helping in the prevention of gastric ulcers.
Saffron is also capable of relieving stress and both physical and mental pain. Acting on the nervous system with positive effects on mood, this spice can contribute to a significant alleviation of depression symptoms.
The saffron plant has been scientifically proven to prevent the formation of certain cancer cells. In addition to this, it is also known to provide protection against mutations, boost the immune system and to act as an antioxidant against harmful elements that could harm our body.
It is because of the unique modes of action of saffron that causes this plant to cure or temporarily aid a variety of sicknesses.