A comprehensive article on the health properties of saffron; From fighting cancer to improving mood
Properties, side effects and consumption of saffron
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and 450 grams cost between $ 500 and $ 5,000. This high price is due to the properties of saffron for its health, color and aroma, and of course its hard harvesting method, which makes the saffron production process expensive. Saffron is harvested by hand and this spice is obtained from saffron flower (scientific name: Crocus sativus). Saffron spice is actually made from the same raw structures or stigmas of this flower.
The history of this spice goes back to Greece, where it was highly valued among the people due to its healing properties. Many people consume saffron to improve libido (sexual desire), boost mood and improve memory. In this article prepared by Salamat TV, the properties, side effects and consumption of this expensive spice are discussed.
Saffron contains a considerable range of plant compounds, all of which act as antioxidants in the body. Molecules that protect the body’s cells against free radicals and oxidative stress are called antioxidants.
Important antioxidants in saffron include crocin, crocetin, safranal and kaimferol.
Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments from which the red color of saffron is derived. Possible properties of these two compounds include antidepressant effects, protecting brain cells from progressive damage, improving inflammation, reducing appetite, and helping to lose weight.
Safranal helps to improve mood
Safranal is a compound from which the special taste and aroma of saffron derives. Research shows that this compound may help improve mood, memory, learning ability, and protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
Benefits of saffron petals
Finally, we can mention the composition of kaempferol, which is found in the petals of saffron flowers. Studies show that this compound is associated with some health benefits, including reducing inflammation, anti-cancer properties, and antidepressant activity.
Properties of saffron for the treatment of depression
Saffron is known as the “spice of the sun”. This title is not only derived from the specific color of saffron, but also related to its possible properties for improving mood.
An analysis of five studies shows that saffron supplements have been significantly more effective than placebo in treating mild to moderate depressive symptoms.
Other studies show that daily consumption of 30 mg of saffron is as effective as fluoxetine, imipramine and citalopram, all of which are common medications used to treat depression. In addition, compared to other treatments, saffron consumption has been associated with fewer side effects.
It also seems that saffron petals and stigmas are both effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
Although these findings are promising, more human studies are needed to confirm saffron as a treatment option for depression.
Fighting cancer with saffron rich in antioxidants
Saffron is rich in antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals is associated with the development of chronic diseases such as cancer.
In-field studies show that saffron and its compounds selectively kill or suppress intestinal cancer cells while not damaging normal cells in the body. This effect of saffron has been observed in the fight against cancers such as skin cancer, bone marrow, prostate, lung, breast, cervix and several other types of cancer.
In-field studies have also shown that crocin – the main antioxidant in saffron – may increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs.
Although these in-situ findings are promising, the anti-cancer effects of saffron in humans have not been well studied and more research is needed.
Relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome is a term that describes the physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms that occur before the onset of menstruation.
Studies have shown that saffron may help treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
A study has shown that daily consumption of 30 mg of saffron in women aged 20 to 45 years was more effective than placebo in treating the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as prematurity, headache, cravings and pain.
Another study shows that just inhaling saffron for 20 minutes helps relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as anxiety and lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Lust is a food or supplement that helps increase libido (sexual desire).
Studies have shown that saffron – especially in people taking antidepressants – may have addictive properties.
For example, studies show that daily consumption of 30 mg of saffron for four weeks significantly increases erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction associated with antidepressants, compared with placebo.
In addition, the results of the analysis of six studies show that saffron consumption significantly increases erectile function, libido and overall satisfaction, but has no effect on semen characteristics.
Another study shows that consuming 30 mg of saffron daily, compared with placebo, for four weeks in women who had less sexual desire reduced the pain associated with sex and increased sexual desire and relaxation in them.
Reduce appetite and help lose weight
Eating snacks is one of the common habits that can put a person at risk for unwanted weight gain.
According to research, saffron may prevent overeating by suppressing appetite.
Eight-week studies show that women taking saffron supplements have increased satiety, fewer snacks and significant weight loss compared to women taking placebos.
Another eight-week study shows that taking saffron extract supplements helps to significantly reduce appetite, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and overall fat mass.
However, scientists are not sure how saffron works to suppress appetite and help lose weight. One theory is that saffron boosts mood and thus reduces the urge to eat snacks.