The Top 7 Benefits of Saffron - World's Most Expensive Spice
To begin with you may be wondering, what is Saffron? Saffron is a spice that comes from the flower Auttum Crocus. Thought to have originated in Iran, this country is currently the biggest producer, closing in at about 95% of the world’s production. The dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice. It can take as much as 75,000 flower blossoms to produce a single pound of saffron spice, which is why Saffron is considered the world’s most expensive spice by weight. It is largely cultivated and harvested by hand, making it highly labor intensive. But the benefits it provides creates a value that far exceeds its price.
You can find saffron seeds but it is most commonly produced as saffron powder. The powder form is used as a food spice, food coloring agent, as a fabric dye and for medicinal uses. On this last one, people use saffron most commonly to treat depression, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, menstrual cramps, and PMS. The saffron color is a bright and beautiful red, like nature wanted to get our attention to this highly beneficial spice. We can tell you there is no substitute for saffron, read along. And you may be wondering what does saffron taste like? You can immediately say it is exotic with a combination of sweetness and earthy but don't worry if it is an acquired tastes for you, because you can definitely take it as a supplement.
We will tell you about the top seven benefits of safron and why supplementing with, particularly with organic saffron supplements it will take you to the next level. Make sure to stay until the very end, I bet you will be surprised by the number one benefit.
So here we go starting with...
#7 - Enhances Physical Performance
The active chemicals in safron are what are called carotenoids. These molecules have shown to improve energy supply and power, making Saffron one of the best supplements to gain muscle with. In an article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, Saffron proved to help people obtain strength, along with visual and audio reaction times. It was possibly also responsible for the improvement of muscle perfusion and the transportation of oxygen in the blood.[i] Supplementing with an organic saffron supplement will improve blood flow and oxygen to the muscles during exercise so watch out for muscle growth!
Of course taking a supplement is not what's going to make you gain physical strenth because getting there is a combination of many things. But it definitely helps to supplement with natural things that have proven to help you get there faster.
#6 - Promotes Weight Loss
There is also some evidence to suggest that saffron may help promote weight loss and curb the appetite. It is not a diet supplement but more so to keep you in check by not going overboard with the food. To help you stay the course, it is recommended to drink a saffron tea before the meal. Although you may also have hard of taking satieral saffron extract which is highly talked about to loose weight. But for that you want to specifically look for optimized saffron because that is what's going to help with the neurotransmitter signals that will eventually control the constant snacking desire.
A study in the Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Research [ii] found that taking a saffron extract helped people with coronary artery disease reduce their body mass index (BMI), total fat mass, and drop inches off the waist. People who took the supplements also had a reduced appetite compared with those in the placebo group.
#5 - Improves Mood & Treats Depressive Symptoms
#4 - Prevents Nervous System Disorders
Saffron has many anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in AJP[iv] showed that consistent supplementation can have immense benefits in the prevention of Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease. The antioxidants in saffron may play a role in protecting the body from disorders affecting the nervous system. Research from 2015 noted that compounds in saffron such as crocin, appear to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain.[v]
People with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's who took saffron for 22 weeks had cognitive improvements that were comparable with those of people who took the highly prescribed drug Donepezil. And while getting similar benefits, they also experienced fewer side effects.
While this is early evidence to support the medicinal use of saffron, researchers suggested that future clinical trials could help back up these claims.
#3 - Reduces PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual Syndrome or commonly called PMS affects 3 out of 4 women, so needless to say, there is a huge market looking for relief from this at all times. The array of symptoms are vast and can go from just feeling dizzy before period all the way to completely debilitating to the point of not being able to get out of bed. With many of the women taking medication that has side effects, women are happy to get a hold of a therapeutic that leaves no side effect and greatly reduces the discomfort and debilitating symptoms of PMS.
The authors of a medical study first published in 2008 and later reviewed, looked at the research on safron and symptoms of PMS. The study contained women between the ages of 20 and 45 who took 30 mg of saffron each day. They found that women taking the supplement had fewer symptoms than those who took a placebo.[vi] Additionally, women who simply smelled saffron for 20 minutes had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their system, which may also contribute to a reduction in PMS symptoms.
#2 - Shown To Help Fight Cancer
We already covered that saffron is high in antioxidants. And these antioxidants in general help neutralize harmful free radicals. We are bombarded with free radicals from our natural metabolic processes but also external things such as exposure to cigarettes, air pollutants and chemicals. And although a small amount of exposure is natural, an overload, which is what we face, causes oxidation. This free radical damage has been linked to many chronic diseases, cancer being one of them.
In this case in particular, a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in July 2020 showed how strong of an allied saffron can be those fighting this prevalent disease. The human trials showed decisively that saffron can be used in the treatment and prevention of cancer. The compounds in saffron were shown to selectively kill colon cancer cells or suppress their growth, while leaving normal cells unharmed.[vii]
These results were also seen in tests involving skin, bone marrow, prostate, lung, breast, cervix, and several other cancer cells. What’s more, test-tube studies found that crocin — the main antioxidant in saffron — can help reduce the negative side effects of mainstream anticancer drugs and treatments.
And last but not least...
#1 - Helps Reduce Sexual Dysfunction
This affects both men and women, so let’s take a closer look. Men are being affected in larger numbers and it is becoming more prevalent even in young adult men. Many more each year are searching for an erectile dysfunction doctor to help them. Within this category you can find anything from early ejaculation, to difficulty reaching climax. The causes for men are varied with some being more mental like depression or as a result of taking medication, there's even such a thing as Xanax erectile dysfunction, it's scary to think how many people are taking that medication. And although it is important to always consult with a doctor, there are good news on the natural front for men experiencing this with saffron supplementation.
In a study with men experiencing erectile dysfunction the clinicians found that saffron daily supplementation increased the frequency and duration of erections in as little as 10 days.[viii] Men can even feel shame experiencing this and have led some to even ask does Vicks vapor rub help with erectile dysfunction in the hopes of not having to leave home to fix the issue. But you don't have to take that measure. In another study published in the Natural Medicine Journal, diabetic men with erectile dysfunction (a common symptom in diabetes) found that saffron gel significantly improved sexual function and increased the frequency of erections along with other reported benefits such as higher sexual desire and overall intercourse satisfaction.[ix] Studies like these show that saffron gel can be an erectile dysfunction home remedy that can be easily obtained with no side effects to worry about.
For women, sexual dysfunction can come as a result of using certain medications, like antidepressants, which can diminish sexual drive and cause pain during sex. In a study published in 2013[x], using organic saffron supplements for 4 weeks improved sexual drive and significantly increased lubrication, which helped minimize pain during sex.
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