Know about Saffron (Kesar): The Golden Spice
Saffron, commonly known as Kesar,is a perennial plant belonging to the Iridaceae family. It comes from the Arabic word ‘zaffran’. Saffron is the golden coloured and sharp stigma of the autumn crocus, completely dried and used to flavour foods and other products. It has an exotic aroma with a bitter taste. Saffron is an expensive spice with an important culinary significance.
Saffron is a natural spice and flavouring ingredient for meals. Saffron adds a perfect aroma to a variety of cuisines around the world. For example, it is used in Spanish paella, Indian pulao, Iranian stews, seafood, and dessert recipes.
Nutritional Properties and Importance of Saffron (Kesar)
Saffron has a wide variety of nutritional values like Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Protein, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. Antioxidants like crocetin, crocin, safranal and kemperanol helps in reducing oxidative stress and providing a unique taste and aroma to the dishes.
In Ayurveda, saffron is useful for its healing properties. It is a best remedy to treat memory issues, inflammation, stomach disorders, and even depression. Saffron is also best for brightening, cleansing and restoring skin due to its therapeutic properties.
Benefits of using Saffron (Kesar)
Crocetin and crocin found in saffron works as an anti-inflammatory agent which makes it easier to treat arthritis.
Saffron plays an important role in treating indigestion due to its radical scavenging and antioxidant effects. It also cures ulcerative colitis and heartburn.
Wounds can be healed with saffron. A paste of saffron mixedwith water and turmeric can be made andapplied directly to the wound area for better healing.
Treats respiratory problems-
Saffron is the best remedy to treat respiratory problems such as asthma due to the antioxidants present in it.
Helpful in insomnia-
Insomnia can be very annoying and make us very unproductive throughout the day. Daily consumption of saffron can cure insomnia and induce sleep in humans. It also regulates sleep patterns and makes the person feel healthier and more energetic.
Saffron is known to have cancer preventing properties. The compound in saffron known as crocin is useful in inhibitingthe growth of colon cancer cells. In skin cancer also saffron shows effective results.
The natural compounds found in saffron helps in medical cases with retinal degeneration and vision loss. It strengthens the visual response.
Useful in hair treatment-
The antioxidants in saffron help in repairing damaged hair and promote its growth. You can mix a teaspoon of saffron strands with almond oil or coconut oiland massage your hair well for healthy growth.
For skin care-
Topical application of saffron brightens up your skin. You can use a saffron milk mask to moisturize and soften the skin. You can also use it to treat acne and blemishes.
Side effects of using Saffron
Saffron can have possible side effects-
- Consuming saffron in high doses can cause diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, mucous membranes, etc. In some cases, taking too much saffron can be toxic to health.
- It should be avoided by people suffering from bipolar disorder. Saffron should be avoided by patients with low blood pressure and those with heart disease.
- Pregnant women also should not consume it in excess.
Where is Saffron found?
Saffron originally came from Greece and was first grown there, but in present times, this spice is mainly grown in Iran, Greece, Morocco and India. In India, it is grown in Jammu and Kashmir.