MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF SAFFRON (Post No.7093)

Written by London Swaminathan
swami_48@yahoo.com

Date: 13 OCTOBER 2019
British Summer Time uploaded in London – 20-55
Post No. 7093

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Kashmir is known for its saffron cultivation. Chinese writers say that Kashmir is the home of saffron. Hindus use this in the worship of their gods and goddesses. Pregnant women also use it in their drinks, particularly milk. They believed that the children born to them will be healthy and fair. Latest researches show the benefits of such use. It is a medicine to cure hyperactivity of children.

Latest research in Tehran (Iran) University gives the result:-

NEW YORK—Saffron capsules appear to be as effective as methylphenidate for treating children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers from Iran report.

“My research group at Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital has worked on the psychotropic effects of saffron since early 2000, and we have documented the antidepressant effects of saffron,” Dr. Shahin Akhondzadeh from Tehran University of Medical Sciences told Reuters Health by email.

“On the other hand, many antidepressants have been used as alternative for stimulants in patients with ADHD that cannot tolerate Ritalin (methylphenidate) or do not respond to Ritalin. Therefore, from this preliminary study, the main point is that we can consider saffron just as an alternative in the above mentioned patients,” he said.

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and its active constituents are thought to increase the reuptake inhibition of dopamine and norepinephrine and are NMDA-receptor antagonists and GABA-alpha agonists.

Leaving the medical jargon to one side, we can safely say that it boosts one’s mental power and cures depression.

Other interesting facts about saffron are:-

Saffron is seen 50,000 year old cave paintings in Iraq. It is seen in ancient Greek legend.

Alexander the Great used it to heal his wounds.

Cleopatra bathed in it.

It was spread along the streets in advance of Nero’s (Roman emperor 37-68 CE) entry to Rome.

Sumerians used it in magical potions.

King Solomon revered it in love poetry.

Plague sufferers coveted it.

Pirates stole it.

14 week war broke out between Austria and Basel over saffron in 1374 after nervous nobles seized vast quantities of saffron from a rising merchant class.

Saffron is extracted from flower stamens of Crocus sativus plant. Iran, Spain, Afghanistan, Italy and India grow saffron.

It is one of the most expensive spices.

Indians use it in milk and drinks. But westerners use it in buns and cooked foods such as saffron Risotto.

Golden brown saffron buns are traditionally served in Scandinavian countries on St Lucia day.

Saffron plays an important role in the food traditions of Mediterranean region.

Latest Costco magazine has given saffron recipes. Saffron is made from dried stigmata and styles, known as threads, hand harvested from the delicate saffron flowers.

Crocus sativus (saffron plant) is an autumn flowering plant. The etymology and the place of origin are not certain. Crete, Iran and India are considered as the place of origin. Though it has been used for thousands of years the name saffron is attributed to Arabic or Latin. Now Iran generates 94 percent of global supplies. Kashmir (India), Spain, Greece and Morocco are the next largest suppliers.

A good gatherer harvests 1000 flowers per hour. We need over one lakh flowers to make one kilo of saffron. There are over 150 volatile chemicals in the flower. Saffron has only three stamens in one flower. So one can easily differentiate saffron from other similar coloured flowers.

Though there are different types of crocus flowers  , crocus sativus is the only one used as spice.

Source – Costco magazine and gardening magazine, U.K.

—subham–

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