Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly
known as the "saffron crocus". Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12
in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which
are the distal end of a carpel. The styles and stigmas, called threads, are
collected and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in
food. Saffron, long among the world's most costly spices by weight, is native
to Southwest Asia and was probably first cultivated in or near Greece. Iran
now accounts for approximately 90% of the world production of saffron.
1. Protects against
2. Promotes learning
and memory retention
3. In delayed puberty
4. To increase
5. In patchy baldness:
Saffron mixed in liquorice and milk makes an effective topical application to
induce hair growth in alopecia.
6. Protection against
cold: Saffron is a stimulant tonic and very effective to treat cold and fever;
saffron mixed in milk and applied over the forehead quickly relieves cold.
7. Food Additives: Saffron
is an excellent replacement for synthetic food additives- for eg: instead of FD
and C yellow no 5: a synthetic food coloring agent that is a very common
allergy trigger, Saffron’s glorious yellow could be an acceptable
Some of the culinary uses Saffron
1. For a wonderful marinade for fish, add saffron
threads, garlic and thyme to vinegar.
2. Use saffron to give cakes, pastries and cookies a
buttery golden hue and a rich aroma.
3. Cook biryanis
with saffron combined with cloves, cinnamon, Indian bay leaves and nutmeg for a
4. Crush a tiny piece of saffron into a glass of
champagne or sparkling apple cider and turn the drink into a golden elixir.
5. Coffee spiced with saffron and cardamom is a
soothing and heart healthy drink.
6. Add saffron and cinnamon to whole milk or yogurt
and honey for a simple version of the famous Indian yogurt drink, lassi.
Saffron as a spice, is generally regarded as safe,
however it is not recommended during pregnancy and nursing. It also must also
be pointed that large doses i.e. more than 1 or 2 table spoons can be toxic,
although saffron poisoning is very rare.