5 Benefits of Saffron You Do Not Want To Miss

5 Benefits of Saffron You Do Not Want To Miss I Mirra Skincare

Saffron is easily the world’s most expensive and precious spice. Purchasing just one pound of it can leave you weeping in your wallet with a whopping price tag of $5000. The most expensive spice to follow is vanilla, coming in at about $600 per pound. So what in the world makes the world’s most precious spice just so precious? Here are 5 benefits of saffron you do not want to miss. 


1. What is saffron?

2. Saffron’s vitamins and minerals

3. 5 Benefits of saffron

Key Points

  • Saffron is a fragrant, earthy spice that is harvested in Morocco, Greece, and India.  
  • Saffron contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties, support healthy cell growth and repair, and protect the immune system. 
  • The benefits of saffron include its aphrodisiac properties, support for mental health, cancer-fighting properties, and alleviation of PMS symptoms.  

What is saffron? 

Saffron is a spice derived from the stigmas of the flower Crocus sativus, a plant from the iris family. It is thought to be native to Greece; however, today, the spice mostly flourishes in Iran, Morocco, Greece, and India.

For thousands of years, the beautiful, aromatic spice has been cultivated for use in perfumes, dyes, and medicines, and as a fantastic flavor feature for foods and beverages. Although the United States produces a small amount of saffron domestically, most of it is imported from around the world.

The spice is composed of small, fine threads that have a tiny yellow tendril on one end. Suitable for vegan, gluten-free, and paleo diets, saffron is described as having a subtle, earthy, fragrant taste that can often come off as fruity, which makes sense as the eye-catching red-orange color seems to match the flavor profile perfectly.

The real question is, why is it so expensive? 

Each flower only produces three stigmas of saffron. For context, that means it takes 150 flowers just to make one gram. Even more, the flowers only bloom for one week each year, meaning that the by-hand harvest process (which must take place in mid-morning when the flowers are still closed in order to safeguard the precious stigmas inside) is intensive, tedious, and valuable. Essentially, all I’m seeing are dollar signs. 

Via Giphy

Saffrons vitamins and minerals

Herbs and spices are often overlooked sources of vitamins and minerals, typically outshined by glorious fruits and vegetables. However, it goes without saying that both herbs and spices are a part of Mother Nature’s medicinal (and flavorful) gift to us, chock-full of micronutrients that keep our bodies healthy and happy. Saffron is no exception! Here’s the breakdown. 

Some of the most prominent vitamins and minerals found in saffron are: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus 
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

Picture this: 100 grams of saffron. 100 grams of saffron is equivalent to about three and a half ounces. This small portion contains 23% of your recommended folates (a.k.a. B vitamins), 18% of your recommended vitamin A intake, and a tremendous 135% of your daily vitamin C intake. All of these vitamins play a critical role in red blood cell formation, which promotes healthy cell growth and function. Additionally, these vitamins keep our immune systems healthy and elevate our energy levels throughout the day. 

Via Giphy

The same 100 grams of saffron provides 11% of daily calcium intake, 37% of daily copper needs, 66% of daily magnesium, 139% of daily iron intake, and - pause, for effect - 1200% of recommended daily manganese intake! Each of these minerals is required for creating healthy cells in every part of the body. They help to maximize the body’s immunity and produce red blood cells to stave off infection and disease. 

5 Benefits of saffron

As if the vitamins and mineral composition doesn't speak loud enough, the benefits of saffron extend well beyond cell repair and immune system function. Here are five more benefits of saffron raking up the dollar signs as we speak. 

1. Saffron has antioxidant properties.

Similar to other herbs and plants, saffron is abundant in antioxidants which help to protect cells against oxidative stress and free radicals. Specifically, it contains crocin, coretin, safranal, and kaempferol. Both crocin and coretin possess antidepressant properties, prevent memory loss, and improve learning ability. Kaempferol has been linked to cancer-fighting properties and reduced inflammation throughout the body, aiding in staving off a plethora of health issues. 

2. Saffron benefits mental health. 

Saffron is often nicknamed the “sunshine spice" for reasons beyond its beautiful colors. Studies found that a 30-milligram supplement of saffron provided the same level of effectiveness as conventional treatments for depression such as Fluoxetine. Both parts of the saffron plant (the petals and the stigma) proved to be effective against mild-to-moderate depression. Despite these promising results, more studies are needed to confirm before professionals start recommending it as a treatment.

3. Saffron has aphrodisiac properties. 

Since ancient times, saffron has been used as a natural aphrodisiac (food or supplement that boosts libido). Now, this has been confirmed through modern research from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Their studies showed that saffron’s antioxidant crocin is effective in elevating sexual stamina and libido in men, and women who ingested saffron felt higher levels of arousal. Maybe saffron will help add some spice to your love life?

Via Giphy

4. Saffron contains cancer-fighting components. 

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of Asian and African people depend on medicinal plants to protect their health. Specifically, saffron is commonly used as a spice related to cancer treatment. Studies conducted to test the efficacy of saffron found that it has preventative effects on cancerous cells by minimizing tumor formation without imposing adverse effects on healthy cells. 

5. Saffron relieves PMS symptoms. 

Some of us may be *all too* familiar with the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, ranging anywhere from cramping and acne to strange cravings and irritability. In studies conducted with women ages 20 to 45, taking 30 milligrams of a saffron supplement daily was significantly more effective than a placebo supplement in treating PMS symptoms such as cravings, pain, and headaches. Another study found that simply smelling the saffron for 20 minutes alleviated PMS symptoms such as anxiety and stress. Sounds like, with a little bit of Midol and Saffron, there’s nothing we can’t do. Am I right, ladies? 

Overall, the world’s most precious and expensive spice seems to have earned renown. Despite the plethora of benefits of saffron, it should be noticed that consuming large amounts of saffron is potentially unsafe. Research has shown that high doses can cause uncomfortable side effects and even be poisonous. It’s safe for most people to take as a medicine for up to six weeks, but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on this special spice, consume it with caution, although the benefits are tempting. 

Written by Morgan Taylor


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    1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/history-origin-of-saffron-spice-iran#:~:text=Iran%20produces%2085%20percent%20of,grows%20throughout%20Europe%20and%20Asia
    2. https://saffronstore.com/blog/list-of-saffron-vitamins/ 
    3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23638289/ 
    4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26468457/ 
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23497863/ 
    6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24299602/ 
    7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24701496/ 
    8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21242071/ 
    9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573418/ 
    10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199605)10:3%3C189::AID-PTR754%3E3.0.CO;2-C
    11. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.606124/full
    12. Photo by Vera De on Unsplash

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