Saffron contains several compounds such as safranal, picrocrocin and crocin, the latter is the main antioxidant in saffron working as a dye. Crocin is a carotenoid chemical compound that is present in the flowers crocus and gardenia. Crocin is the chemical mainly responsible for the color of saffron. Chemically, the dieter derived from the disaccharide gentiobiose and dicarboxylic acid crocetin is crocin.
It is one of main carotenoids and pharmacologically active components of saffron. Crocin is also responsible for the color of saffron. Cronic posseses different therapeutic properties, including effects on nervous system disorders (antidementia agent, antidepressant, anxiolytic, and aphrodisiac) as well as antioxidant, cardioprotective, and antitumor properties
Saffron and mainly crocin are effective antidepressant and anti-anxiety agents, as well as sexual motivator, memory enhancer and sedative which are used for the treatment of different central nervous system disorders.
Crocin, safranal, and crocetin are the components of the plant that play a role in the antidepressant effect based on the available evidence. Current evidence demonstrating that saffron administration, at a dosage of 28 mg/day for 4 weeks, had beneficial effects on mood, anxiety, and stress management in individuals self-reporting low mood, yet sleep quality did not improve.
Crocetin and crocin are yellow pigments that are normally obtained from saffron (Crocus sativus). Saffron powder as well as extract are used as both colorant and spice. However, the use of saffron powder and extract as food colorant is limited due to its high cost and is restricted only in the United States. The European Union has not approved saffron for its use as colorant but allows its use as spice.
In Japan and China, crocin extracted from fruit of gardenia yellow (Gardenia jasminoides and Gardenia augusta) has been approved for use in foods. On the other hand, the use of crocin obtained from the fruit has not been permitted in the United States and European Union.
These days, medicinal plants have received more attention than chemical drugs due to their lesser side effects. Saffron is one of these medicinal plants. Saffron has countless properties, In addition to seasoning and flavoring saffron, its medicinal properties can also be used a lot.
The effect of saffron on respiratory diseases
Asthma is a respiratory disease that causes multiple respiratory attacks, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, especially in the early days and midnight. One of the substances that is effective in reducing asthma is the consumption of substances containing antioxidants. Recent research has shown that increasing the use of antioxidants is very effective in reducing the effects of asthma.
Saffron stigma as one of the known foods has many elements. A lot of studies have been performed to identify various compounds of saffron and so far about 150 active compounds have been identified in saffron, the most important of which are crocin, picrocrocin and safranal; These studies have also shown that saffron is rich in antioxidants and riboflavin. In fact, saffron is a sedative and analgesic. Saffron increases oxygen delivery to various tissues of the body and is therefore anti-inflammatory and relieves cough.
The method of drying saffron has a great effect on the quality and value of the final product. In different countries and regions, saffron is dried in different ways. The special and extraordinary aroma of saffron is produced during drying due to the hydrolysis of picrocrocin compounds and the release of safranal.
We all try to buy the best quality. Especially when it comes to saffron, sensitivity to its quality increases and we don’t want to experience bad quality at all. The quality of saffron is one of the factors that makes the buyer decide whether to buy saffron or not. In previous posts, we talked about original saffron detection methods that are very useful in diagnosing the quality of saffron. In order to be 100% sure of the quality of a saffron, you should test the saffron in the saffron quality control laboratories.