Saffron has been used for thousands of years in ancient Asian and European medicine. This part of the crocus plant is also a common ingredient in some ethnic cooking in the countries where it grows natively. The benefits touch on many different aspects of both physical and mental health that affect millions of people around the world today.
In the quest for optimum health and well-being, people from all walks of life turn with increasing frequency away from modern medical advances and prescription drugs to traditional medicine that has stood the test of time. Saffron is one of the most interesting all-natural herbal supplements currently getting a lot of attention.
As mentioned above, saffron is a plant part from the Crocus sativa or common crocus plant. If you have ever seen these pretty white, yellow, and purple flowers bloom early in the spring, you may remember the center stigma or threadlike structures in the center of the blossom. This is saffron.
Because of the difficulty in procuring saffron itself, it has become one of the most expensive spices in the entire world. Nevertheless, it is commonly used to add flavor and bright yellow color to rice and dishes like paella. One ounce of your saffron cost about $250.
Some of the nutrients found in saffron include 400% of the daily recommended value of manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, and potassium. This healthful spice is not used specifically as a source of nutrients like this, however. Instead, it’s health benefits come from the wide variety of carotenoids and antioxidants also found within.
Although used in cooking for flavor and color, saffron is now getting attention for the long list of health benefits it can bring. All across Asia and Europe, ancient documents and oral histories tell of the importance of saffron and all of the good ways it affects overall health.
A Multitude of Natural Chemicals in Saffron
When you see the word “chemicals,” you may think of unnatural solutions you should avoid. However, there are plenty of natural chemicals, too that make up compounds in plants, animals, and us. Saffron has more than 150 of these natural materials contained within the tiny amount of you get from each flower. Some of these include safranal, crocetin, crocin, and kaempferol.
They perform a variety of tasks for the human body. For example, these and others not listed a powerful antioxidant benefits that help fight oxidative stress and the aging process. Most people who keep informed about natural medicine understand the importance of getting enough antioxidants in their diet. These can help everything from cognitive abilities to the prevention of heart disease and even some cancers.
Natural Health Benefits of Saffron
All of the above information sounds great, but how can you tell if saffron will truly help you with the health problems you either already have or desperately want to prevent? When it comes to medical research of this and other traditional medicines, science sometimes does not keep up with the anecdotal claims that stand the test of time.
However, because saffron is so often mentioned in Ayurvedic and other traditional medical practices, and ever-increasing number of researchers are taking a closer look. The following information combines both modern and traditional use to help you make an informed decision about adding saffron to your health regimen.
Saffron and Depression
Millions of people all around the globe suffer from depression and similar emotional and psychological troubles. Although it is important to work with a physician or psychologist closely to determine the best course of treatment, you can also find some relief from changing your diet, getting more exercise, and including different supplements and herbs to your daily regimen. Saffron and depression have gotten a lot of attention lately in the medical journals and recommendations from people who have their own experiences with both.
Antidepressants and similar psychiatric prescription medications are some of the most often prescribed pills in the United States and other Western nations. With such a high number of people experiencing the emotional issues, lethargy, and other depressive symptoms that go along with this disorder, it makes sense to look for any hope from natural supplements and spices.
Saffron has not only been anecdotally linked to feeling better and reducing the severity of depressive symptoms for a large number of individuals. Now, quite a few scientific research studies have backed up these claims with proof. For example, a 2013 study showed that 30 milligrams of saffron reduced symptoms of diagnosed depression at a much higher rate than placebo stood. In fact, it was as effective as commonly prescribed medications like fluoxetine.
While some of these studies used more precise measurements, with most mental disorders and diseases, the way to judge improvement is through careful reporting and questioning of the patients themselves. The groups who took saffron supplements reported improvements in their overall mood and a reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Because these studies are done with a control group and a random supplement or placebo spread, the individual patients do not know they are actually getting the beneficial compounds are not. This takes away the possibility that the people who are taking saffron only think they’re getting better because they want the spice to work.
Other studies showed that both the saffron spice itself and crocus petals were effective at staving off the symptoms of depression. In all of the studies, there were no reported negative side effects from the natural saffron supplement use. This additional information gives people who struggle with the symptoms new hope in their quest for a more positive life.
Saffron and Concentration Improvement
Whether you are a young person who wants to improve focus for school or work, are struggling with ADHD or an older individual with age-related cognitive decline or dementia, you would probably love to find a way to improve your concentration, cognitive abilities, focus, and memory skills. All of these things can suffer from a variety of difficulties and for various reasons. In the long list of potentially helpful things that work on concentration improvement, saffron is prominently featured.
Another collection of important studies that focus on concentration and cognitive improvement dealt with Alzheimer’s patients specifically. Of the two major studies done, one tested 30 milligrams of saffron against a placebo group while the other tested the saffron against popular prescription medicine called Aricept, which is given to reduce the rate of impairment.
The results of these small but important studies showed that saffron again outperformed placebos at a considerable rate, and it also worked just as well as the prescription. When faced with the choice of a continuous decline into cognitive dysfunction, it makes sense to choose an all-natural health supplement that can stave off disability as long as possible. Also, since saffron has no known negative side effects in these studies, why not choose a natural solution instead of a chemical-based prescription?
In general, the benefits for concentration, cognition, and memory improvement seem to come from both antioxidant action and saffron’s natural anti-inflammatory properties. There is a lot of focus these days on how dangerous inflammation is to all parts of the body. This is equally true for the brain. Since this amazing spice has many unique natural chemicals that fight against inflammation, makes logical sense that it would be useful against this and other issues in the mind and body.
Saffron and Sleep Disorders
Insomnia and other sleep difficulties also drive people to seek out alternative treatments and nutritional changes that can help them find relaxation and rest. Failure to get sufficient sleep can affect every other aspect of your health and well-being. It can make you lethargic at work or school, decrease your mental focus and concentration, and even affect your physical health. Insufficient sleep can even exacerbate serious medical conditions.
So many different things contribute to sleep disorders, insomnia, and general restlessness. If you have been diagnosed with a particular disorder that affect your sleep, it makes more sense to study how saffron or other nutritional changes can affect that one specifically. For example, people who have sleep apnea, which is a respiratory disruption while sleeping, a not get the same benefits from any treatment as a person who has trouble falling asleep due to anxiety or stress.
When it comes to saffron and sleep disorders, the benefits that a person gets from the spice in relationship to many different issues can also help them sleep more comfortably. For example, people with diabetes have delayed sleep more often than people with appropriate blood sugar and insulin levels. Because saffron supplements help stabilize these things, they can also help with this type of sleep disorder.
If you have trouble falling asleep due to premenstrual syndrome’s like anxiety and pain from muscle cramping, saffron can help with these situations, too. When you have an improvement in your overall health and well-being, you tend to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for a longer amount of time.
That being said, some people consider it saffron an all-natural sleeping pill that has genuine sedative and relaxation properties. One 2009 study with mice that show that saffron had a considerable soporific effect in general. From the most modern scientific research to the traditional habits of having a glass of warm milk with a few saffron was on top, it has long been suggested as a way to get a better night’s sleep no matter what the cause of your insomnia.
Saffron and Sight Degeneration
The natural aging process and diseases like diabetes or blood pressure issues can lead to sight degeneration over time. While some things that lead to lifeless like macular degeneration cannot be reversed, there are some things you can do to slow down the progression and increase your visual acuity. Besides medications, lifestyle changes, and even eye exercises, trying to add healthy compounds like those found in saffron to your health regimen can make a difference.
Macular degeneration caused by aging has been studied extensively with a variety of medications and supplements in an attempt to improve the quality of life for older individuals. A study in 2016 found that saffron supplementation improved visual acuity and minimized eyesight loss within a six-month period. Part of this may have been due to the high antioxidant levels in the spice that worked to eradicate the damage caused by free radicals.
Saffron and PMS and Women’s Health Issues
Far too many women suffer from unpleasant and downright painful premenstrual syndrome symptoms and other female-centric health issues. The discomfort, bloating, anxiety and stress, and emotional upheavals experienced as part of PMS may become a thing of the past if you use saffron effectively.
Imagine getting rid of PMS symptoms like headaches, pain, cravings, and irritability just by taking 30 milligrams of an all-natural saffron health supplement. Studies have shown that it is markedly more effective than placebo against these complaints. Interestingly enough, additional studies demonstrated that smelling saffron can also help alleviate anxiety caused by hormonal changes and reduce cortisol rates overall. Cortisol is commonly called the stress hormone and does not specifically have to do with women’s health.
It is important to note that saffron was traditionally used as an abortifacient, which means that access ingestion led to a natural yet intended abortion. Doses as high as five grams, which is much higher than any dose recommended for the health benefits listed in this article, cause uterine contractions and estrogenic effects. You should not take any saffron if you are currently pregnant because of this.
Other Possible Health Benefits of Saffron
While things like saffron and depression, saffron and sleep disorders, saffron and sight degeneration, and saffron and PMS top the list of all the ways this unique plant product can help you, both traditional and modern medicine offers so many more insights into the benefits. Saffron, which is sometimes called the sunshine spice, seems to shed light on many of the more serious or aggravating health complaints that people experience all around the world.
Although there are no claims of saffron curing cancer, it does seem to show some promise in the fight against free radical damage and cancer cells in some cases. The rich array of antioxidants themselves may help reduce the chance of getting cancer. Research studies have shown saffron kills colon, skin, prostate, breast, lung, and other cancer cells in clinical trials. There are also indications that saffron’s chemical crocin increases chemotherapy efficacy during treatment.
Some of the other health benefits of natural saffron include:
- Reduction in appetite and increase in satiety to help with weight loss
- Increased sexual desire and ability to perform in a both men and women
- Potential to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin function
- May reduce cholesterol levels and improve circulation overall
Choose Negin: the Purist Form of Natural Saffron
When it comes to choosing saffron products for health purposes, it makes sense to get the best quality possible. After all, the purity and concentration of the natural chemicals found within each supplement makes a considerable difference in the outcome.
We offer products made from Negin saffron, which offers some of the highest amounts of the healthful compounds found in the plant part itself. It is made from the full red region of the three-branch crocus stigmas collected by hand. We ensure absolute quality in every extract we offer. The plant parts are suspended in a glycerin and water solution in a 1 to 20 ratio for maximum health efficacy. Also, the careful controls put in place take away risk associated with bacterial growth or any other unwanted inclusions.
Now that you understand all of the amazing benefits of saffron for treating depression, cognitive decline, sleep disorder, PMS, sight degeneration, and so much more, do not hesitate to invest in your health. All of the millennia of experience combined with modern research about this well-known powder point to positive outcomes in all-natural and much-improved health and well-being.
From the center of a simple springtime flower comes one of the most expensive and outstanding all-natural health supplements in the world. Saffron has been used for thousands of years not only as an ingredient in some of the favorite dishes from Asia and Europe, but also a traditional medicine that brings with it a great number of benefits. Now you can experience them for yourself with the highest quality extract products available.