One of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron is a small perennial spice that is a member of the lily family. So expensive due to its labour-intensive harvesting methods – which involves hand picking the stigmas of each flower – it is not only a delicious addition to many dishes, but also has a wide range of health benefits including supporting cognitive health, improving mood and sleep, and helping the body adapt to stress. Saffron originates from Greece where it is revered for its many medicinal properties; however nowadays is also grown in many parts of the world such as Morocco, Spain, Iran and Italy.
Read on to learn more about the health benefits of saffron:
Nicknames the ‘sunshine spice’, various studies have found Saffron to improve mood. Some studies have found that taking 30mg of Saffron daily was as effective as taking conventional treatments for depression. As well as being equally effective, many participants experienced fewer side effects from the spice compared to other treatments.
May Reduce PMS Symptoms
Studies show that women taking 30mg of saffron daily was more effective than a placebo at treating symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome, such as irritability, headaches, cravings and pain.
Full of Antioxidants
The spice contains a variety of antioxidants that protect cells against free radicals and oxidative stress. Some of the antioxidants include crocin, crocetin, safranal and kaempferol, two of which – crocin and crocetin – are carotenoid pigments that are responsible for the bright red colour of Saffron. Both of these compounds are said to have antidepressant properties and improve inflammation. Another antioxidant found in Saffron, called safranal, is not only responsible for the spice’s taste and aroma, but research also shows that it could contribute towards improving mood, memory and learning ability.
Saffron can be added to a variety of dishes such as stew, risotto and paella, the dried spice can also be made into tea. Try our Saffron Complex – 3.5% Leptricrosalides®- Saffron, Choline & Omega 3.