Spice it up with Saffron: Know the health benefits!

Derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, Saffron is considered among the world's most costly spices by weight.

By Udita Madan | Updated: Sep 20, 2015, 15:31 PM IST

Udita Madan

You put it in most Indian sweets, you put it in kheer, you put it in biryani, you put it in pulao and you even add it in your milk!

Yes, we are talking about the aromatic spice called Saffron or most commonly known as 'Kesar' in Indian households.

Derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, Saffron is considered among the world's most costly spices by weight.

Many use it in their food items mainly for colouring or aromatic purposes, but barely anyone is aware of its super healthy properties.

Saffron enhances your delicious dishes, but, today we'll tell you how this costly spice enhances your health.

1. Depression:

The first and foremost advantage of Saffron is that it helps combat depression. According to a study, saffron works as a safe and effective antidepressant. 30 mg of saffron extract when taken for at least six weeks can help ameliorate the symptoms of depression.

2. Improves memory:

Saffron consists of crocetin and crocin that may aid in improving memory and cognitive processing. These properties are useful for treating degenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.

3. Asthma:

Saffron may also help those with asthma by cleansing your airways. Your lungs are likely to clear up and become less inflamed.

4. Healthy heart:

Saffron provides a lot of antioxidants such as lycopene and crocetin that can render positive results in the treatment of heart disease by strengthening the circulatory system. Add a pinch of saffron to your dishes for a healthy heart.

5. Controls appetite:

A pinch of saffron can help suppress your appetite. You will also get to eat tastier and healthier food with saffron in it.

6. Helps in rehabilitation:

Quitting narcotics can have some symptoms which may seem difficult to overcome. In such a situation, make Saffron your best friend. Compounds like crocin and safranel found in saffron, have been shown to interact with the opoid system, and reduce the effect of withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction.

7. PMS:

Saffron can also help women experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to a 2008 study. PMS symptoms like mood swings and fatigue have known to take a dive when countered with the properties of Saffron.

8. Fights against growth of cancer:

Saffron may also prove to be very helpful in fighting against cancerous tumor growth. Even though action of the herb is not known, it may, nevertheless, prevent the spread of the tumor without affecting the healthy cells. Apart from this it can also be used concurrently with other conventional cancer treatments.

9. Improves eyesight:

Saffron is an anti-oxidant, but it also has additional qualities that particularly affect vision. Saffron may alter genes responsible for the fatty acid content in vision cell membranes, which impacts the strength and resilience of eye tissue, according to a study.

Have a happy saffron experience!