Health Benefits of Saffron

Health benefits of Saffron make it amongst the most common, sought after, researched spices.  The red colored spice  (yellow when interacting with food) has shown to be a key ingredient in healing the body,  including  its help in the treatment of a number of medical ailments such as: depression, macular degeneration, weight loss, asthma, menstrual discomfort.

With a botanical name  of Crocus Sativus  and commonly called saffron, this wonder spice is sought after from Europe to the Middle East.  Iran is the world’s largest producer of saffron which has researched saffron’s potential medicinal use specifically on how it reduces depression. The research at the Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital in Tehran University of Medical Sciences,  has found saffron to be a safe and effective antidepressant (due to carotenoid alpha-crocin).  Research preformed in Germany has confirmed the results.

While the University of Sydney Australia and  University of L”Aquila Italy have focused on improving the retina as related to macular degeneration through the consumption of Saffron Supplements.  After 3 months of ingesting the saffron the patients had considerable improvement in their vision.

Researchers in France had hypothesized that by improving ones mood through taking a saffron supplement, one could lose weight.  The results showed that in fact by improving ones mood and reducing depression that weight loss could be achieved.

Additional information has confirmed that saffron also totes the ability to ease stomach aches, kidney stones and alleviate bronchial constriction.

Saffron’s medicinal attributes come from minerals and vitamins: copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.  Cartoenoids: α-crocin, zeaxanthin, lycopene, α- and β-carotenes; all  important antioxidants helping to protect a body from oxidant induced stress, cancers and infections. Vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C.

Saffron supplements have been found to be effective in studies, however, caution is advised if encountering any of the following:  nausea, vomiting, appetite loss or drowsiness. Consult a doctor if more serious side effects occur such as persistent vomiting, blood in the urine or stool’s, nosebleed or dizziness. These may all be signs of a saffron overdose. Use of saffron must be avoided by those with liver or kidney disease, allergies and bipolar disorder. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also check with a doctor before using saffron.

Kim Crocker

Research Studies

http://www.itmonline.org/articles/saffron/saffron.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15341662

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17704979 http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2805356.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=weightloss%20saffron

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/saffron.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15341662

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