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Benefits Of Saffron (Kesar) For Skin, Hair, And Health
The most popular spice, which offers everything nice – that’s saffron. But not all of us are aware of its benefits, which are simply wonderful.
What Is Saffron?
A spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus (which also is its scientific name), saffron (and its threads, especially) is mainly used as a seasoning and coloring agent in food. Apart from its uses, it is also well known for being one of the most expensive spices in the world.
Saffron (Kesar in Hindi, Jafran in Bengali, Kumkumappu in Tamil, Kumkuma pubba in Telugu and Zaeafran in Arabic) is thought to have originated in or near Persia, from where it propagated to Eurasia, and then to parts of North America, North Africa, and Oceania. The plant usually thrives in the Mediterranean maquis (a place in the Mediterranean regions with dense evergreen shrubs), and in similar climates where hot and cold summer breezes blow over semi-arid lands. The flower of the plant is purple and possesses a honey-like fragrance. The stems grow up to 20 to 30 cm in height, and they, along with the flowers and roots, develop between October and February.
Saffron comes in various varieties; some of the popular ones include –
– Padmagadhi, grown in Kashmir and often considered the best variety (also called Mongra or Lacha saffron).
– Parasika kumkuma, which has bigger strands.
– Madhugandhi, which has thick strands that are rough to tough (and are slightly white).
– Bahilka, which has tiny white strands.
Other popular varieties are sargol (native to Iran), acquilla (native to Italy), and crème (native to Spain).
What Is The History Of Saffron?
Cultivation and use of saffron spans more than 3,500 years. It has been traded and used across continents and even utilized as a treatment for over 90 disorders. Ancient Greek legends speak of soldiers embarking on perilous voyages to procure what was thought to be the most valuable saffron. Cleopatra, as per certain texts, used saffron in her baths for its cosmetic properties. Egyptian healers used this spice for treating gastrointestinal ailments. And the Romans used it as a deodorizer.
We speak of all of this for one reason, and one reason only – saffron is good for you. But why?
Why Is Saffron Good For You?
As per the writings of Hippocrates (often regarded as the father of medicine), saffron is a wonderful treatment for colds and coughs, stomach issues, uterine bleeding, insomnia, flatulence, and even heart trouble.
Saffron is extremely rich in manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar and aids the formation of bones, tissues, and sex hormones (1). It also contains vitamin C that fights infections and aids iron absorption. More interestingly, saffron contains over 150 volatile compounds. Most of saffron’s healthful qualities can be attributed to crocin, a compound in saffron.
Even saffron milk has great things to offer. This spice, when combined with milk, can improve digestion and appetite, keep your skin healthy, and even enhance your immunity. Drinking saffron milk every day, especially before going to bed, can promote sound sleep. Saffron oil can make your skin glow – and even saffron water has amazing properties.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Saffron?
Saffron, in about 100 grams of its quantity contains 310 kilocalories, 65.37 grams of carbohydrates, 11.43 grams of protein, 5.85 grams of fat and 0mg of cholesterol. Dietary fibre content is 3.9 grams with other minerals like calcium 111mg, copper, 0.328mg, iron 11.10mg, magnesium 264mg and manganese 28mg contributing to its mineral base.