The word Saffron, originates from the Arabic word Zafaran, which means yellow. The Saffron Crocus plant was initially cultivated by Minoans of ancient Crete. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and requires 200,000 flowers (hand-picked) to produce 1 kg of Saffron.
Saffron is a bitter-sweet herb that aids digestion, stimulates circulation, and lowers high blood pressure. The Chinese use saffron as a medication to revitalize ˜stagnant liver energy. Ayurveda uses the herb to strengthen the functioning of the stomach and to cure digestive problems. It is also used in treating cough, bloated stomach and colic.
During the ancient days, saffron was also used as an aphrodisiac, to increase flow of bile, to improve appetite and to deal with menopausal problems.
Apart from treating physical illness alone, saffron is also said to be beneficial in reducing depression. A study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, stated that saffron works just in the same manner as the modern day anti-depressants. It also enhances the activity of mood-boosting medications.
Another interesting fact is that, a research revealed that saffron inhibits carcinogenesis, and is now being studied as the most-effective Cancer Chemo-preventive agent.
However, it should be noted that Saffron contains a toxin that could cause kidney or nerve damage, when used in excess, and hence should be avoided by pregnant women.