Saffron is a rich, yellow-hued and ancient spice. Saffron threads are a deep reddish orange, but turn golden yellow when cooked, or brewed as a tea. Because saffron’s harvesting process is so labor intensive, the price point can get pretty steep — it’s the world’s most expensive spice. But a little goes a long way, so a jar of the precious stuff should last you for a bit.
Saffron comes from flowers of the Crocus sativus, which grows in the middle east and parts of Europe — it’s most commonly cultivated in Iran, India, and Greece. Saffron has been used since ancient times to add color and flavor to foods, as a fabric dye, and also has benefits when brewed as a tea. It was prized by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians as a medicinal remedy; some research shows that saffron is effective for a variety of uses and that low-dose supplementation has antidepressant properties.
Saffron’s antidepressant features may be the result of increased serotonin action in the body; effects include an elevated mood and a reduced desire to munch on snacks. According to Dr. Michael Murray ND, recent clinical trials also show that there may be more benefit to saffron supplementation than previously known — beyond its antidepressant effects. Brewing the golden spice into a soothing tea may have a number of benefits; here are just a few.
Helps Kick Low-Grade Depression To The Curb
Saffron’s antidepressant properties may be one of its most powerful attributes. A 2013 study published by the Journal of Integrative Medicine included a large-scale analysis of saffron’s mood boosting properties, and found that the spice’s depression-relieving potential is pretty profound. While larger scale studies would help confirm saffron’s efficacy as an antidepressant, current research looks promising, so feel free to enjoy some tea each day to help up your mood, and reduce the urge to snack. Prepping some saffron tea is simple; add a few strands to some hot water, let steep for about 20 minutes, give it a good stir, and sip.
Has Powerful Anti-Cancer Properties
The deep, golden color of saffron tea comes from the crocin compound — a chemical component found in the flower that’s loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants. Recent studies show that both crocin and crocetin have potent anti-carcinogenic effects in lung, breast, pancreatic, and leukemic cells, and also liver, skin, and cervical cancers. The research regarding saffron’s potential anti-cancer benefits is super exciting; all the more reason to get your daily cup of tea in.
Soothes PMS And PMDD Symptoms
Studies show that saffron is considered a great natural remedy for relieving both PMS, and the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Researchers found that 15 mg of saffron twice per day is an effective way to stave off PMS symptoms. According to NutritionFacts.org, 30 mg of saffron is about 13 threads, so brew a few cups per day to help ward off your monthly PMS and/or PMDD symptoms.
While it’s true that saffron can be pricey, its potential health benefits are pretty amazing. It only takes a few strands to brew a cup of tea, add to a favorite dish, or as an addition to this scrumptious healthy hot chocolate. Because saffron is so expensive, tea bags can be low in actual saffron content. Your best bet is to source saffron threads online, and steep them in hot water to make a therapeutic tea. With so many potential health perks to adding a daily cup (or three) to your routine, there’s no doubt it’s worth the splurge.
Written by Carolyn de Lorenzo
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