Saffron is one of the most valuable and expensive spices known worldwide, thanks to its color, flavor and medicinal properties. What medicinal properties, you may ask? The list is extensive and keeps growing.
Saffron typically comes in very small quantities because it’s so pricey. Why is saffron so expensive? You’re about to find out!
What is so special about this spice? It takes about 75,000–125,000 flowers to produce just one pound. Growing saffron and harvesting it requires a lot of work, as you can see, which is why the saffron price is so high. How much is real saffron? A single pound can cost as much as $5,000. This shocking saffron cost makes it the world’s most expensive spice.
For centuries, there have been many uses of this spice. Egyptian healers used it to treat gastrointestinal ailments, and in Roman times, it was used to promote wound healing and relieve upper respiratory complaints. Other saffron uses in traditional medicine include as an abortifacient and in the treatment of spasms, fever, colds, bronchitis and insomnia.
1. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Recent studies show great promise of saffron constituents in the promotion of a healthy cardiovascular system.
2. Helps Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects more than 150 million males throughout the world. In traditional medicine, saffron is an aphrodisiac, with its chemical compound known as crocin credited for its aphrodisiac activity. In a pilot study to evaluate this traditional use, 20 male participants with ED were evaluated. There was a positive effect on sexual function with increased duration and number of erectile events seen in men with erectile dysfunction after taking saffron for just 10 days.
3. Alleviates Symptoms of PMS
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is among the most common health problems for women, affecting 20 percent to 40 percent of women of reproductive age. Saffron is considered an excellent antispasmodic. In a study, women aged 20—45 years with regular menstrual cycles who experienced PMS symptoms for at least six months were chosen and randomly assigned to either group A, who received saffron twice a day, or group B, who received a placebo twice a day for two menstrual cycles.
The women were evaluated for PMS symptoms and results showed that the women in the saffron group saw a significant improvement in PMS symptoms compared to the placebo group.
4. Promotes Satiety and Weight loss
In a Malaysian study, researchers wanted to investigate the satiety property of this herb as another one of the many saffron benefits. They gave women participants a capsule of Satiereal twice daily or an inactive placebo with no restrictions in dietary intake. After two months, the participants using the saffron extract reported a decrease in snacking and lost more weight than the control group.
5. Improves Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety are serious disorders in today’s society, with estimates that 1 out of 3 individuals in the Arab world suffers from either of these disorders at some point of their life. As a therapeutic plant, Persian traditional medicine uses saffron for depression, and researchers wanted to assess the efficacy of the herb in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
In a study published by the Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine, 60 adult participants with anxiety and depression were randomized to receive a 50 milligram saffron capsule or a placebo capsule twice daily for 12 weeks. Fifty-four participants completed the trial. As a result, the supplementation of saffron had a significant effect on scores of depression and anxiety in comparison to placebo during 12 weeks.