Saffron is a small, bulbous plant from the lily family. It has three delicate crimson stigmas in the center. Farmers must harvest the delicate threads from each flower by hand and that’s why it’s so expensive due to the difficulty of harvesting it. It’s also known as the sunshine spice as some research has suggested that the spice has a mood brightening effect. In this article we will go through the health benefits of saffron (as found in empirical research) and walk you through how to brew it.
Saffron Health Benefits
A powerful spice which has been linked to high anti-oxidant properties. Research has found that it may improve mood, libido, improve weight loss and reduce PMS effects.
PMS Symptoms In women 20–45 years of age, taking 30 mg daily was found to be effective in treating PMS symptoms including irritability, headaches, cravings and pain. Another study has found that simply smelling the spice for 20 mins can alleviate PMS related anxiety.
Acts as an Aphrodisiac – Research has found it to have libido stimulating properties especially in people who are taking anti-depressants. Taking 30 mg daily over four weeks significantly improved erectile function in men with antidepressant-related erectile dysfunction. Similar effects have also been found in studies with women.
Aids weight loss – It has been found that saffron may reduce the need for snacking, promoting weight loss as a result. Taking an extract supplement helped significantly reduce appetite, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and total fat mass during an 8 week study.
Improves mood – In a review of five studies, saffron supplements were significantly more effective than placebos at treating symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression.
How to brew saffron
The team at Exotic Bazaar have provided some valuable intel on how to brew the vibrant spice.
There are two ways:
- Using hot water: Once ground, dissolve it in a couple of tablespoons of hot water. Use this liquid brew to add to your recipes.
- The second method is more recommended because it better retains the nutrients.
- Melting ice method: Leave an ice cube to melt gently on top of the grounded saffron. An ice cube that has been made from purified water would be ideal for use in this method.
TIP: store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 10 days