Latin name: Crocus sativus Linn. (Iridaceae)
Sanskrit/Indian name: Kumkuma, Kashmira, Kesar, Zafran
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Revered for its flavor and color, the herb is an important culinary ingredient in Middle Eastern, Spanish and Indian cuisine. Native to Southern Europe, Saffron is cultivated in Spain, Italy, France and Iran.
Saffron has a number of therapeutic benefits. It rejuvenates the skin and is beneficial in treating respiratory conditions. The herb can also be used as a nervine sedative and as an emmenagogue.
Safranal is the most important volatile oil compound found in Saffron, which gives the herb its flavor. A carotenoid compound, a-crocin, gives the herb its distinct color. It contains minerals like potassium, which control heart rate and blood pressure, and vitamins A and C, folic acid, niacin and riboflavin that are essential for maintaining healthy growth.
Key therapeutic benefits:
- Research has shown that safranal, found in Saffron, has antidepressant properties, which are beneficial in the treatment of trauma and stress.
- The herb has been used as an aphrodisiac to treat male sexual debility.
- It is an antipyretic that lowers fever.