Saffron's properties

The saffron contains about 150 aromatic volatile substances, which give its typical organoleptic properties.

It contains alkaloids, saponins, phytosterols, vitamin B1 (antioxidizing and necessary for growing), vitamin B2 (helping the metabolism), eucalyptol; it is one of foods richest in carotenoids (lycopene, alfa and beta carotenes, zeaxanthin) that are antioxidizing and cytoprotective, increasing the immune system defences. Each person produces 5 grams of free radicals a day, responsible for ageing and for cancers outbreaking: well, with a little bit of saffron the 20 % of free radicals are eliminated!

Deriving from zeaxanthin, crocin and picrocrocin are responsible for the typical yellow gold of the saffron and for its characteristic smell, thanks to reactions of those with other substances.
Saffron is both water-soluble, for the glucose inside, and lipo-soluble for the crocetin, a polyene containing a carboxyl group. All this has a negligible caloric contribution.

 

Alimento

Carotenoide (μg/100gr)

ZAFFERANO 8.000.000
CAROTE 9.115
PEPERONI ROSSI 3.840
SPINACI 3.535
ZUCCHINE 955
POMODORI 640
FAGIOLINI 350
PISELLI 300

 

Since ancient times the saffron has been used as a medicinal plant: Hippocrates had been prescribing it against rheumatism, Pliny the Elder had been appreciating it against cough and sore throat. During the Renaissance, it was considered almost as a panacea, used in case of menstrual pains, low back pain, dyspepsia, bronchial spasms, cough, asthma, depression, nervous excitement, gingivitis and gums irritation as during children teething.

In India, where saffron is widespread, the Ayurvedic medicine consideres saffron like a cross between a food and a medicine.
Among the monographs of medicinal plants published by OMS, there is also the saffron' s one, describing characteristics, biological properties and medicative uses of the spice.

The Chinese medicine and the Indian one with also the modern phytotherapy use this spice for its properties detoxicating, purifying and anti-inflammatory (enhancing in combination with honey).

The saffron is also an excellent digestive, increasing the peristalsis and the secretion of bile and gastric juices.

It helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases since it reduces blood pressure and, promoting fat metabolism, it reduces the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
The results of research made in Italy and in Australia proved that this precious spice is able to protect the retina, to prevent the sight's senile weakening and to strenghten the sight sharpness.

Saffron has been tested both in laboratory and in clinic as a natural medicine against slight or moderate states of depression with dosages of few milligrams per day. Being a natural medicine it hasn' t any of the collateral effects of the synthetic drugs. It seems to have also anxiolytic properties. Moreover it seems to improve the mnemonic abilities and the maintenance of the neuronal plasticity and also to protect against convulsions induced by drugs.

Traditionally compounds of saffron are applied on ecchymosis, burns and grazes. Its powder can protect hair from sun, wind and sea water, strenghtening the hair fiber and leaving the hair soft and voluminous.

The ancient uses of this spice as an aphrodisiac, or in case of ovarian failure, are related to its effects on the adrenal cortex. Since ancient Greece, the most typical use of it has been in aromatherapy and in chromotherapy in case of psychophysical stress: its yellow colour is in fact always synonym of well-being and good mood, and many SPA offer massages with this spice.

 

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