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What are the effects of saffron?

Saffron is a spice of Crocus sativus (Saffron crocus) which belongs to the family of iridaceae1 and studies has advocates its role in diseases cure. Its health management properties have been discussed in traditional prescriptions including Chinese, Ayurveda and Unani medicines. Different plant parts like peels, fruits, seeds and rind of Crocus sativus contain various biochemically active ingredients such as crocin, crocetin, and safranal in different proportion. These constituents have demonstrated the health promoting effect through the modulation of various biological and physiological processes Earlier studies reported that saffron is safe at various doses and did not show any severe side effects.

Chief ingredients of saffron

Saffron stigma is mixture of various components and such constituents have therapeutics importance in the health management through the modulation of various biological pathways. It contain numerous volatile compounds and ingredients including crocin, picrocrocin and safranal and these compounds are accountable for color, taste and odor of saffron respectively. Safranal is the major coloring constituent of saffron, so saffron is used as a flavoring and coloring agent. In addition to these compounds, saffron also contains little amounts of other pigments like anthocyanin, α-carotene, β- carotene, and zegxantin.

Possible mechanism of action of saffron and its ingredient in diseases prevention

The exact mechanism by which saffron and its constituents demonstrate the therapeutic role in diseases prevention is yet to be fully elucidated. Laboratory based research has revealed that saffron constituents modulate the activity of various enzymes involved in free radical scavenging. Moreover, these components reduce the lipid peroxidation and enhance the antioxidant status. Stigma ethanolic fraction of saffron showed the highest antioxidant activity that might be recognized due to the presence of phenolics and flavonoids.

Anti-tumour activity

It is very well known that medicinal plants such as curcumin, ginger, carica papaya and black seed have therapeutic role in the management of numerous diseases including tumour. Saffron and its active constituents perform an important role in the inhibition of tumour development and progression Table 2.

These days the popularity of alternative medicines based treatment is gaining much interest in the health practice. Saffron has shown its role in disease prevention and treatment and its importance in disease cure have been documented. Moreover, it is believed to be a safe and its adverse effect was not noticed at various doses.

The role of saffron including crocin and crocetin in the management of numerous diseases has proven via modulation of various physiological and biochemical pathways. Saffron has also been reported to exhibit an anti-tumour effect through inactivation or activation of different molecular cascades.

Source:Here

A story of the only saffron farm in Belgium

Halfway between Brussels and Liège, not far from the city of Namur, There is only professional saffron farm in Belgium, called “Le Safran de Cotchia“. The idea of cultivating saffron in Belgium was a gamble of Eric Léonard and his wife, motivated partly by a need to “go back to basics” by working the land. But the farm’s history did not begin with the cultivation of this coveted flower, known as red gold. It is the current chapter of a life in which entrepreneurship and love for the land have always been closely linked.

An entrepreneurial spirit

It all began in 1985, when Eric Leonard and his brother took over their father’s farm, which covered approximately 145 hectares. “At the time, we were growing traditional crops, such as beets and corn. The first CAP reform quickly led us to set part of our fields aside. My brother and I decided to continue to cultivate our land, even if it prevented us from having access to the premiums. That’s when the farm experienced its first diversification, because on those 25 hectares set aside for fallow, we decided to plant blackcurrant. Many people considered us crazy at the time. However, it was a successful gamble, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which drastically reduced prices. From 40 Belgian Francs per kilo, we then went down to 4 Belgian Francs. It was our first big blow,” says Eric Léonard.

After that, the producer decided to embark on a completely different project: to create the first on-farm butchery in Belgium. “At the time, I met my wife, who was trained as a butcher and caterer. Soon, our business grew. We had employees and the butchery was a great success. However, after 19 years of that, we wanted a change and to go back to the land, which we were missing more and more. It was after watching a program about a saffron farm in France that 3 days later, we went there to learn more about it. Afterwards, we brought 1,500 bulbs back to our farm. Although this first attempt was only moderately good, we decided to give up the butcher’s shop to start growing saffron in 2009. Once again, we may have been considered fools.”

Saffron: a sustainable crop with 100% manual labor

The first year, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard brought 150,000 bulbs back to their farm. 11 years later, they were cultivating about 600,000 of them on 2.8 hectares. “The bulbs are normally planted in August. They then flower in October/November. Currently, we are at the end of the flowering period. The leaves then come out and are dried out in April/May. Then, the bulb is multiplied for another flowering in October. In order to prevent the development of diseases, we recommend replanting the bulbs every 3-4 years.”

Saffron does not require any phytosanitary products: “If the soil is sufficiently balanced, there is no need to add inputs. As far as insecticides are concerned, saffron is currently free of pests. We cannot use herbicides, as they would take a toll on the development of the flower. The weeding is first done through thermal burns, and now we are moving on to mechanical weeding. It is important to know that in a saffron farm, everything is done manually or mechanically. Although the ideal soil for the crop is an aerated one with limestone that is easily irrigated, we cultivate the flower on a very heavy, very wet and silty soil, so we can say that saffron adapts to any soil. And we have achieved this by adapting the cultivation techniques to the conditions of the Belgian soil.”

Saffron in Belgium: a product with a still underdeveloped market

Although saffron products have now found their market, Eric Léonard has had to redouble his efforts and bet on innovation to develop his clientele. “Unlike other crops, there is no saffron sector. Saffron growers will therefore have to develop their own customer portfolios. And to do that, in addition to being a good producer, you have to be a good salesperson. Although most of our customers today are renowned chefs and bistros, we had to introduce saffron in Belgium, which was not really known by professionals at the time. It took a huge effort.”

“Moreover, it is difficult to make a living from saffron production alone, so we diversified with the development of a range of derived products such as jams and mustard, as saffron is a formidable flavor enhancer.

Mr. and Mrs. Léonard also seek to promote the use of saffron in the paramedical sector. “Saffron is a very good relaxant. Personally, I use it to help me sleep and it is very effective.

A year complicated by the consequences of the health crisis

Besides selling its products in Belgium and exporting bulbs, the company also makes some income by offering visits to the saffron farm. “Normally, the equivalent of 2 coaches per week visit the saffron farm. Due to Covid-19, we have barely had 2 or 3 coaches since the beginning of the year. This represents a significant loss of turnover. The closure of restaurants for 3 months in Belgium has also caused us to lose 22% of our turnover. Moreover, we fear that the situation will affect us even more during the holiday season, as a large share of our sales is usually carried out in Christmas markets. In order to cut costs, we have started producing on a day-to-day basis, adapting to the demand.

Belgian and French saffron: very different from Moroccan and Iranian saffron


Although saffron cultivation does not originate in France and Belgium, these origins have everything needed to appeal to professionals and consumers. “Belgian or French saffron is very different from Iranian or Moroccan saffron. On our farms, the flower’s pistils are much longer and thicker. It takes about 150 flowers to obtain 1g of saffron in Belgium/France, while 250-300 are needed in Iran and Morocco (Amata: This information is incorrect). Iranian and Moroccan saffron is spicier, more piquant, while Belgian and French saffron has much more aroma.

The French and Belgian production can be sold for about 34,000 Euro per kilo, or 34 Euro per gram. “The production from southern countries is sold at much lower prices, since the labor force is often family-based and therefore cheaper, and this is a major competitive factor.”

Eric Léonard is also investing a lot in educating and raising the awareness of professionals and individuals about saffron cultivation. “On the market, 80% of saffron is fraudulent. There is a lot of fake saffron in circulation and we explain how to avoid being cheated. A simple little test is to take a pistil between your fingers, wet it and then roll it. If your fingers turn yellow, it is indeed saffron!”

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For more information:
Eric Léonard
Le Safran de Cotchia 
26, rue de la Waloppe,
4219 Wasseiges, Belgium
Tél. : +32 496 54 54 41

Source: fresh Plaza

what is the highest quality saffron?

Saffron is basically considered as a spice which is derived from a flower whose scientific name is Crocus Sativus. It is a delicate purple coloured flower whose stigmas are dried to extract the spice. It is cultivated once in a year. saffron has been used for thousands of years as a seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine. The stigmas of the flower are harvested and processed by hand which is very labor intensive and the reason why Saffron is considered the world’s most expensive spice.

High-quality saffron comes from the regions of the world where saffron grows naturally. This is why Persian Saffron  is always high on the list. There are different types of saffron. The highest quality saffron is all red saffron and a subtype called negin grade saffron. The latter is considered to be premium quality saffron where the threads form a red cluster. A lot of work and skills are needed to produce negin saffron.

 

Every serious saffron manufacturer states the type and grade of saffron. If you see that the saffron threads have yellow-white ends, it means that the manufacturer is trying to add some weight. These parts of the stigma are still aromatic but they don’t add any color.

 

The Right Climate for Cultivation 

The best saffron is cultivated in countries with a suitable climate for the saffron flower to grow. The latter likes cold, wet winters, hot summers, and sandy soil. Saffron grows well in such counties as Iran, India, Afghanistan, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Morocco, etc.

Perfectly Dried Saffron

High-quality saffron is perfectly dried saffron. After harvesting, saffron threads should be dried to the perfect degree. They shouldn’t be moist but shouldn’t be roasted either. Once dried, saffron should be properly packaged and stored. Hardly will you find high-quality saffron sold in an ordinary plastic spice jar.

 

How to Test the Quality of Saffron?

Not all saffron brands sell high-quality saffron. As there are brands on the market that sell fake saffron, it is best to buy it from trusted manufacturers. If you have already bought saffron, here is how to tell if it is real high-quality saffron or not.

  • Smell it. Fake saffron doesn’t have a distinct smell. Real saffron, on the other hand, has a unique aroma with sweet notes. It also smells somewhat musky and floral.
  • Taste it. Although saffron is a very aromatic spice, it doesn’t have a distinct taste. It is slightly sweet, floral, and bitter all at the same time. If your saffron tastes overly sweet or metallic, it is either fake or very low-quality.

 

Is saffron useful in Cosmetics industry?

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Will saffron make baby fair?

Pregnancy is a very crucial stage in a woman’s life and it is also a period when one comes across several myths regarding the diet to be followed in their quest to know more and ensure healthy beautiful baby. It is always recommended to consult your doctor before you add or make any changes to your diet. Using Saffron is one of the most commonly recommended dietary intake by elders during pregnancy.

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Is Saffron good for depression?

Depression and anxiety are two common mental health problems with high economic and social costs. Currently, a number of treatments are available for patients with depression and anxiety disorders such as psychotherapyelectroconvulsive therapy and antidepressant drugs. Read more

What is the saffron Stigma?

Saffron is the most expensive and the only agriculture product that is sold by the weight of per gram, it has its own importance among agriculture products, its importance is due to its limited need to water, once harvested it can be cultivated from five to seven years, can be harvested infertile land, can easily […]

What is saffron powder?

What is Saffron Powder? Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world because each blossom produces only three stigmas, which are laboriously hand harvested during the three weeks a year that the flower blooms. For more than forty centuries, Saffron has been used in many cultures: as a medicine, for the care of facial […]

The price of saffron will be increased by 100%

These days, the issue of saffron pricing is hot in Iran. With the start of the new saffron harvest season, the issue of determining the price of saffron has received too much attention. The problems and concerns of farmers in the last one or two years have caused the members of the Iranian Parliament, the Saffron Union and the National Saffron Council to intervene in pricing. In the recent meeting of these representatives, the price of saffron for the new season was determined as follows:

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