Saffron: Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects & Ways to Use

Saffron is the golden-coloured and pungent stigmas of the autumn crocus. It is dried and used to flavour meals and dye to color meals and different merchandise. It has a stable and unique aroma and a bitter style. Saffron is an costly spice with a historic culinary significance. The perennial plant belongs to the Iridaceae household. However, the identify saffron comes from the Arabic phrase Zaffran.

Saffron’s exorbitant price is due to the laborious activity of harvesting. First, farmers separate the fragile strands from every flower manually. Then, they warmth and treatment the threads to improve their flavour. The additional labour quantities to the associated fee and advantages of saffron. Hence, it’s also referred to as the king of spices.

It takes round 36,000 flowers to yield 1 pound of dried threads or stigmas. Over 200,000 dried stigmas yield 500 grams of pure saffron. Saffron cultivation occurs beneath particular weather conditions in Iran, India, and southern Europe. The advantages of saffron are numerous. 

Predominantly, saffron is a pure seasoning and flavouring spice for delicacies. Furthermore, individuals use it as a preservative, pure colouring agent and key ingredient in lots of cuisines. Also, many individuals use it as pharmaceutical and conventional drugs.

As a end result, saffron refines a wide selection of cuisines worldwide. For instance, it is a superb addition to the Spanish Paella, Indian Pulao, Iranian stew dishes, seafood and dessert recipes. It can be a key ingredient in particular French recipes. Also, different celebrated dishes are Iranian steamed saffron rice with tahdig, Persian almond cake, and Indian recipes with saffron syrup.

Nutritional Properties of Saffron

Saffron has all kinds of plant compounds that act as antioxidants. Major saffron antioxidants embody crocin, crocetin, safranal and kemperanol. As per research, they defend your cells towards each free radicals and oxidative stress. 

Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments. They are color giving pigment for saffron. Both the compounds have antidepressant properties. Safranal offers saffron its distinctive style and aroma.

Saffron incorporates the next vitamins per 100 grams.

  • Calcium- 111 milligrams 
  • Iron- 11.1 mg
  • Potassium- 1724mg
  • Total fat- 6 g
  • Cholesterol- 0 gm
  • Sodium- 148
  • Potassium- 1724 mg
  • Dietary fibre- 3.9mg
  • Protein- 11gm

Vitamins and Minerals (Required Daily Intake)  

  • Iron- 61%
  • Vitamin C- 134%
  • Vitamin B6- 50%
  • Magnesium- 66%
  • Calcium- 11%

Health Benefits of Saffron

Saffron has a powerful aroma and a wonderful color. Ayurveda celebrates saffron as a pure sedative and expectorant. It is a wealthy supply of antioxidants with quite a few well being advantages. 

Moreover, saffron performs an important position in asthmatic therapy. It is an emmenagogue and apoptogenic agent. Hence together with pure immunity boosters like saffron in your each day food regimen could assist. Saffron is a storehouse of carminative, diaphoretic and aphrodisiac properties.

In historical instances, individuals used saffron in opioid preparations as an analgesic or painkiller. Studies state that saffron elevates temper, struggle oxidative stress. Saffron is usually protected to devour throughout all ages inside the prescribed doses.

Saffron incorporates the next pigments:  

  • Crocin
  • Crocetin
  • Picrococin
  • Safranal

The advantages and makes use of of saffron are outstanding due to the presence of those compounds. 

Carotenoids like crocin and crocetin are accountable for saffron’s pink color. They have antidepressant properties. Studies recommend that in addition they defend mind cells towards progressive injury, enhance irritation, scale back urge for food, and help weight reduction.

Kaempferol in saffron flower petals has a number of well being advantages. For instance, it reduces irritation, has anti-cancer properties, and works as an antidepressant.

Lastly, safranal helps give saffron its distinct aroma and style. Moreover, analysis reveals that it helps enhance your reminiscence and studying potential and enhances your temper. It additionally protects your mind cells towards oxidative stress.

Here, allow us to consider extra concerning the potential well being advantages of saffron.

1. Powerful Antioxidant

Saffron incorporates numerous plant compounds, which act as antioxidants. These antioxidants embody crocin, crocetin, safranal and kaempferol. They assist defend your cells towards oxidative stress and free radicals.

2. Treat Depressive Symptoms and Improves Mood

The “sunshine spice” saffron elevates your temper. It is due to safranal, which is an antioxidant. Many dietary supplements use saffron as it’s efficient for treating mild-to-moderate melancholy. In addition, there are not any unwanted side effects such complement primarily based therapies.

3. Cancer-Fighting Properties

Saffron is stuffed with antioxidants. It neutralises the damaging free radicals. These free radicals lead to the manufacturing of tumours, which can trigger most cancers. Studies recommend that persistent irritation and oxidative stress are the main causes of age-related ailments and most cancers.

The antioxidants in saffron goal and suppress most cancers cells, particularly on the colon, pores and skin, prostate, lung, and many others. They inhibit their development by securing wholesome cells.

4. Reduce PMS Symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collective time period for a collection of bodily, emotional, and psychological imbalances. Symptoms manifest earlier than the onset of a menstrual interval. Saffron could assist curtail the PMS signs.

Scientific observations state that 30 mg of each day consumption of saffron is more practical than the placebo therapy. Moreover, the cortisol (stress hormone) ranges scale back, curbing nervousness.

5. Boosts Libido

As per research, dietary supplements with natural aphrodisiacs enhance your libido. Saffron could have aphrodisiac properties for each women and men. Therefore, common consumption of prescribed saffron could considerably enhance erectile operate. It is efficient, particularly for these beneath antidepressant medicine.

6. Reduces Appetite and Enhance Weight Loss

The dietary fibre in saffron makes you are feeling full for longer. Therefore, individuals consuming saffron dietary supplements really feel considerably full. Also, the dietary fibre reduces urge for food and curtails unhealthy snacking. As a end result, it prevents you from binge consuming and enhances weight reduction.

7. Reduces Blood Pressure and Prevents Heart Diseases

As per analysis, the antioxidants in saffron can scale back the chance of cardiovascular ailments. The flavonoids, particularly lycopene, present in saffron can present added safety. 

Saffron is wealthy in potassium. Hence, common consumption of saffron aids in dilating the blood vessels. It additional eliminates blockage out of your arteries. So, saffron lowers your blood stress to forestall cardiac arrests and strokes.

A examine reveals that the individuals of the Mediterranean area who devour saffron as part of a daily food regimen report lesser circumstances of coronary heart ailments. It could also be due to saffron’s antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. It additionally has cholesterol-lowering advantages. In addition, the presence of crocetin decreases the unhealthy or dangerous ldl cholesterol in your blood. 

It additionally prevents the clogging of fats deposits in blood vessels and arteries. Therefore, it lowers your dangers of coronary heart assaults or related cardiac issues. Saffron additionally boosts your immunity. 

8. Subsides the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Research highlights the effectiveness of saffron in combating Alzheimer’s. It reveals {that a} common consumption of saffron dietary supplements leads to higher cognitive operate in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The antioxidant properties avert the buildup of beta-amyloid protein in your mind. 

9. Reduce Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics

As per analysis, the saffron hydroalcoholic extract could enhance blood glucose management by decreasing fasting blood sugar in T2D sufferers. However, it has no important impact on different facets of diabetic management in diabetics. Saffron could elevate insulin sensitivity. 

10. Improves Eyesight

Several observations present that saffron refines eyesight in adults with a historical past of age-related macular degeneration dysfunction (AMD). Furthermore, the antioxidant properties in saffron defend towards free radical injury related to AMD.

11. Skin Care Benefits

Apart from its culinary makes use of, saffron possesses numerous magnificence advantages. The anti-inflammatory ingredient nurtures to impart a blemish-free radiance to your pores and skin. Therefore, a number of magnificence lotions and different beauty merchandise use saffron as their main ingredient. It offers the pores and skin a glowing contact and makes it delicate and supple. Like all different advantages, it’s also due to saffron’s antioxidant properties. Saffron can act as a topical applicant for:

  • Skin lightening and texture
  • Pigmentation
  • Scar therapeutic
  • Cure for blemishes and zits

Ways to Use Saffron

Saffron has an distinctive voice within the realm of spices. It is called the king of spices owing to its uniqueness. Although it’s the most costly spice, a small amount goes a great distance. You could not require greater than a pinch to impart flavour to your recipes. On the opposite hand, an excessive amount of saffron could give a medicinal style to your meals.

Let us dwell on the varied methods to use saffron. It begins with a number of pointers:

  • Check for high quality saffron.
  • Superior high quality is at all times a bunch of lengthy pink, vibrant strands with orange tendrils and a trumpet-shaped flute on the ends.
  • Avoid powdered saffron, because it’s often blended with many fillers.
  • The color of pink saffron doesn’t change if you happen to dip it in water or milk.
  • It has a pungent and musty style with a candy floral perfume.
  • Crush and soak the threads to extract the utmost quantity of flavour.
  • Steep the crushed saffron in heat water, inventory for 20 to half-hour.
  • Add the soaked saffron liquid instantly.

Grain-based Recipes

Most recipes of saffron are grain-based, which incorporates risotto, pilaf, pulav, biryani and many others. As a suggestion, use about 14-30 saffron strands to 4 servings of risotto or rice made with 300 g of rice. The perfume of saffron makes the rice fragrant. The addition of saffron enhances the style and improves the dietary worth of rice.

Saffron as an Appetiser

An appetiser is at all times gentle and easy. A saffron soup is an appetiser with a Mediterranean contact.

To Combat Hair loss

The non-culinary use of saffron is available in hair care too. The antioxidant property of saffron helps to restore hair injury and promotes development. You could use a teaspoon of saffron strands blended with almond oil or coconut oil. Massage your hair properly for wholesome development.

For Skin Care

Topical functions of saffron lighten and brighten up your pores and skin. The precise software varies on the supposed use. In normal, you need to use a saffron milk masks to hydrate and soften pores and skin. In addition, you need to use it to deal with zits and blemishes.

Baking with Saffron

The sweetness and fragrant flavour of saffron make the desserts distinctive. The mixture of vanilla and saffron offers a aromatic contact to your dish. Use them to add a zing to plain pastries, desserts, bread and many others. 

Saffron Milk

The before everything recipe for saffron is just saffron milk or Kesar milk. It is a scrumptious and wholesome drink infused with saffron.

Healthy Recipes with Saffron

This magical spice has been identified for its distinctive dietary and medicinal properties for ages. The nutrient can keep at bay and treatment many well being considerations. Moreover, saffron is a flexible spice to enhance your immunity and defend you from the climatic illnesses at bay. Globally, when encountering many well being considerations, being wholesome is important.

Here are two easy and simple saffron drinks used globally, particularly throughout winter.

1. Saffron Milk

  • Preparation time- 10 minutes
  • Serves- 3
  • Calories- 110 kcal
  • 1 Cup = 250 ml


  • Milk: 3 cups
  • Saffron Strands: 15
  • Jaggery Powder: 2 tbsp (non-compulsory)


  • Bring milk to a boil
  • Add saffron strands
  • Mix properly
  • Simmer for 4-5 minutes
  • Serve Hot

Saffron Milk Benefits

  • Saffron milk is wholesome to your coronary heart.
  • It is a reminiscence booster and treats insomnia or sleeplessness.
  • Saffron milk helps defend towards chilly and flu, particularly throughout winter.
  • Relieves menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome signs.
  • Aids in bronchial asthma & allergic therapies.
  • It can be good to your pores and skin and hair.
  • Saffron milk can be useful throughout being pregnant.
  • Milk is wealthy in calcium. Hence, it helps enhance bone well being.

Points to Remember

  • Don’t use greater than 20 strands of saffron on this recipe. An extra consumption of saffron might be poisonous.
  • Although saffron milk is helpful throughout being pregnant, it is best to devour it in prescribed and really useful portions to keep away from adversarial results and well being points.
  • Check along with your doctor earlier than any dietary alterations.

2. Saffron Tea

  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 3
  • Calories: 29kcal


  • Water: 3 cups
  • Mint Leaves: 10
  • Cardamom: 3 pods
  • Cloves: 3
  • Saffron Strands: 3-4
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch
  • Lime juice: 2 tsp
  • Honey: 2 tbsp (non-compulsory) 


  • Boil water with cardamom, grated ginger, mint leaves, and saffron for 3-4 minutes.
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes and take off the flame.
  • Stir in lemon juice, honey and serve sizzling.

Saffron: Possible Side Effects and Precautions

Saffron is often protected to devour and has minimal adversarial results. Clinical research have evaluated doses starting from 20 to 400 mg/day of pure saffron. Dosages of up to 1.5 g/day of saffron are thought to be protected; poisonous results have been reported for five g doses. However, there are particular well being situations the place it is best to use saffron cautiously. 

1. Pregnancy

Saffron is a flavouring spice in meals. However, an extreme amount of saffron could make your uterus contract and end in a miscarriage. A examine reveals that publicity to very excessive ranges of saffron could enhance the miscarriage charge in pregnant females. Therefore, pregnant ladies ought to keep away from utilizing a excessive dose of saffron.

2. Breastfeeding

There isn’t any enough scientific data to verify the protected amount of saffron for lactating or breastfeeding moms. Therefore, it is best to seek the advice of along with your gynaecologist to avert any adversarial results for you and your child.

3. Psychological therapy

Saffron alters your temper. It could set off impulsive behaviour in sufferers with bipolar dysfunction or different psychological imbalances.  

4. Plant Allergy

People who’re allergic to a specific number of vegetation could also be allergic to saffron. So guarantee you’re protected from saffron. Immediately search assist out of your well being care supplier in case of rash or allergy. 

5. Surgery

Saffron soothes the central nervous system. Therefore, discontinue saffron two weeks earlier than a scheduled surgical procedure. This precaution avoids any interplay of anaesthesia and different medication throughout surgical procedure.

There are a couple of extra issues that it is best to keep in mind concerning saffron consumption.

  • Consult your doctor earlier than together with any dietary supplements.
  • Excess doses of 5 grams or past could have poisonous results.
  • Saffron powder could also be adulterated with synthetic colors. Hence, purchase from a dependable supply.

The Bottom Line

Saffron is an costly culinary herb. The important advantage of saffron is that it incorporates antioxidant compounds. It could assist scale back or keep away from the chance of sure persistent well being issues related to oxidative stress. The better part is it’s typically protected for individuals throughout all age teams. It is straightforward to embody in your each day food regimen. Incorporate saffron into your recipes yield the potential well being advantages of saffron.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are the well being advantages of saffron?

A. Saffron is a wealthy supply of antioxidants. As a end result, it prevents nervous system issues, acts as an antidepressant, promotes libido and prevents most cancers. However, there are a number of different advantages given within the article above.

Q. What are the unwanted side effects of saffron?

A. Some of the doable unwanted side effects might be allergic reactions, drowsiness, nausea or vomiting. 

Q. Is saffron good for the pores and skin?

A. Yes, saffron is helpful for the pores and skin. The anti-inflammatory ingredient nurtures to impart a blemish-free radiance to your pores and skin. As a end result, it helps get delicate and supple pores and skin. 

Q. Can I drink saffron water every single day?

A. Yes, you’ll be able to drink saffron water every single day as a dietary complement. It has a number of well being advantages.

Q. Can I drink saffron at evening?

A. Yes, it’s protected to drink it at bedtime. The sedative properties of saffron assist deal with insomnia and enhance sleep high quality. However, one of the best time to have saffron water is in the course of the day.

Q. How a lot saffron ought to I exploit?

A. A each day consumption of 1.5 g/day of saffron is protected to use. Over Consumption could lead to some unwanted side effects. 

Q. Is it good to drink saffron milk every single day?

A. Yes. Drinking saffron milk helps you with enhanced digestion, urge for food, immunity and total well being.

Q. Is saffron good for feminine fertility?

A. Yes, it boosts libido and is sweet for each women and men.

Q. What are the advantages of saffron milk?

A. There are a number of advantages of saffron milk. It is wholesome to your coronary heart, boosts reminiscence, and protects towards flu. In addition, it might assist deal with insomnia and enhance sleep high quality, relieves menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome signs. It can be useful for pores and skin and hair.

Q. What is the correct time to drink saffron milk?

A. You can have saffron milk within the morning on an empty abdomen or devour it within the night. However, having it at evening earlier than sleeping can be useful. 

Q. What occurs if you happen to eat saffron every single day?

A. It helps you with enhanced digestion, urge for food, immunity and total well being advantages.

Q. What is the usage of saffron for pregnant women?

A. Saffron is a superb anti-anxiety and antidepressant complement. It cures temper swings in the course of the being pregnant interval. However, overconsumption has extreme adversarial results as properly.

Q. Is saffron good for infants?

A. Yes, saffron is sweet and protected for infants over six months. It enhances their immune system, aids in digestion and ensures oral hygiene. 

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