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.

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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

Is Saffron good for liver cancer?

Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus sativus L. flower which commonly used as a natural remedy to enhance health and even fights disease in the Middle-East and Southeast Asian countries. These include antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antihistamine and memory-boosting effects.

Modern research has provided scientific evidence to support several of these curative assets, and particular attention has been given recently to saffron’s anticancer abilities. Studies have confirmed that saffron can interfere with cancer during initiation and progression and that it has antitumorigenic and proapoptotic activity.

What is liver Cancer?

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Medical evidence has shown that chronic infection with hepatitis B and C are major risk factors for HCC, and exposure to environmental carcinogens, iron overload, fatty liver disease and alcohol abuse can also contribute to development of liver cancer.

“In the fight against cancer, there has been much interest in chemopreventive properties of natural herbs and plants,” said Prof. Amr Amin from United Arab Emirates University. “With limited treatment options, approaches that prevent cancer development are among the best strategies to protect against the disease.” Prior studies have shown that saffron, a naturally derived plant product, possesses antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Saffron is a commonly used spice, adding flavor and color to foods, and a possible cancer-fighting substance that is readily available.

 

Is Saffron good for cancer patient?

New research suggests that saffron provides a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer in animal models. When saffron was administered to rats with diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver cancer an inhibition of cell proliferation and stimulation of apoptosis was observed. Full findings appear in the September issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

In order to further explore the potential of saffron in preventing the development and progression of HCC, DEN was used to induce lesions in rats, mimicking benign and malignant tumors in humans. The research team administered saffron to the animals at 75mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, and 300 mg/kg per day two weeks prior to DEN injection and continued the regimen for 22 weeks.

“Our findings suggest that saffron provides an anti-cancer protective effect by promoting cell death (apoptosis), inhibiting proliferation of cancerous cells, and blocking inflammation,” concluded Prof. Amin. “Further investigation of saffron extract and its mechanism of action in HCC is currently underway.”

This study is published in Hepatology. Read more here.

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