Saffron is famously known as the world’s most magical and expensive spice.
But it’s important to know that even though it comes with an expense, the benefits could be enormous.
Often when you read about saffron’s high cost you read about the way it’s picked.
And it’s true, saffron is hand picked by human beings. Individual stamens are plucked off of these beautiful flowers and turn into those luscious red threads.
Any food item with that large of a human element at the center of production, especially imported, is going to come with a price.
But it’s important to know that there is also an incredible amount of value that comes from saffron. And it goes far beyond taste.
You’ve probably heard about a lot of the potential health benefits of saffron whether in passing or the passive google search, but it’s tough to always find the right information.
So we decided to dig deep and take a hard look at the actual science being done around saffron and what researchers have really found about saffron’s health benefits.
The antidepressant effects of saffron are one of the most famous. They are also what we tend to have the most science around.
A series of Iranian studies, for example (there’s many more) in the Journal of Medicinal Plants looked at the relationship between antidepressant influences and saffron.
In one of their more recent studies they found that saffron can lead to an increase in dopamine and norepinephrine. These are hormones that hit our pleasure centers and make us feel good.
This among other studies contributed to the body of research that shows saffron could have a positive effect on mild depression as well as mood.
It could also improve brain health.
This JPS study found that saffron could have a positive effect protecting the brain.
One of the things saffron is jam packed with is antioxidants, which in some studies have shown positive effects on specific ailments like in this study on treating blood flow to the kidney.
According to this study, there have been reports of saffron reducing the growth of tumors.
The study aimed to check out the claims and found crocin does have potential as a cancer prevention agent.
Another study which reviewed the research across saffron notes:
“...saffron possesses anticancer activity against a wide spectrum of tumors, such as leukemia, ovarian carcinoma, colon adenocarcinoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, papilloma, squamous cell carcinoma, and soft tissue sarcoma.”
Coronary heart disease is another condition that saffron could have a positive effect on based on the research that’s been done.
And circulation in general can be aided by saffron simply by the huge amount of iron you’ll find in it.
All that iron can lead to more red blood cells which will in turn lead to increased circulation.
Inflammation and Pain
A fascinating study in 2002 looked at the effect of saffron to reduce pain.
They found, through experiments with mice, that saffron does in fact have an anti-inflammatory effect in the tests they conducted.
They also noted that saffron has an “antinociceptive effect,” which importantly means that they concluded through their studies that saffron can actually reduce pain along with inflammation.
It’s easy to see why some point to saffron as something of a miracle spice.
What other spice can you think of that has this much positive scientific research around it? That’s part of the reason people often feel like even though saffron can often have a higher price point due to the sheer labor it takes to harvest - it’s worth every penny.
Though 90% of it comes from Iran, you can buy saffron online easily at Zaffrus.Want to learn more awesome information about the foods you eat every day? Join us! There's plenty more juicy info where this came from.