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The homeland of saffron is the Mediterranean. Saffron is a perennial herb with tuber-bulb covered with dark brown scales. The leaves are linear, and the colors – pale purple with darker streaks.
Saffron should dry in shade or in a drying oven at temperatures up to 45 ° C. The dried herb is orange or red-brown, with slightly bitter taste. It is stored in a dark in tightly closed containers.
Saffron has a bitter taste and smell of hay. They are due to some chemicals and it also contains a carotene, crocin, which gives its rich golden-yellow color.
The name “saffron” came from the Arabic word “za’faraan”, which means “yellow” which became in Latin in safranum.
The plant has a diuretic, analgesic and sedative action, which regulates the activity of the stomach. It stimulates the immune system and is an antioxidant. Some experts believe that there is an anti-cancer effect.
Traditional Medicine recommends the herb for
- stomach pain and bowel disease;
- heart failure;
- shortness of breath;
- the absence of menstruation;
- against twitching of the eyes and eyelids;
drowsiness, dizziness, and others.
Also, this plant has an important role in cosmetics and perfumery industry. Recently, safflower oil is part of supplements to reduce weight.
Let’s start with the reasonable question that asks most of the people:
What is saffron, the red gold of the spices?
Saffron is the most expensive spice for a unit of weight in the world, not coincidentally compared to gold. It is undoubtedly priceless – literally and figuratively. The plant from which the spice is obtained grows in most cases in Spain and France. In Southwest Asia grows naturally, and was cultivated for commercial purposes in the area of Greece.
The production of saffron is extremely laborious and lengthy process. For obtaining 1 kg of dry saffron should be sown area the size of two football fields.
In one kilogram of dry saffron contained between 200 000 and 450 000 fibers and for obtaining its required about 40 hours of manual labor. This leads to its high price – saffron is the most expensive spice in the world since ancient times.
Although its use as a culinary spice in the form of dried powder, for generations saffron, is very famous for its healing properties. It is also widely used in a variety of diseases and medical conditions.
In case of heart disease and atherosclerosis
And here we come to the healing properties of this spice. Good news for heart patients is that American scientists (Ohio) have found that the spice can improve the condition of patients suffering from disorders of the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, they found that people taking this spice as dietary supplements are safe from possible future heart problems.
According to researchers the oil made from seeds of saffron is extremely beneficial for the heart and vessels. Because it contains omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids that take care of the smooth operation of the heart. The tests on the volunteers showed lowering of the bad cholesterol by 17% and increasing of the good with 14%.
While limiting plaque builds up on the inner walls of blood vessels and prevents atherosclerosis, very good for the heart is the tea. The manner of preparation of this tea is extremely easy. In hot water place, a few (3-4) clamps of the precious spice. After 15 minutes of downtime when the essential oils have already been released, splash the potion with boiling water.
How can saffron help fight diabetes?
A study also shows the extremely positive impact of the plant on diabetes. The “golden” spice reduces blood sugar and successfully regulates insulin, preventing this risk group of people from complications associated with diabetes. The opinion of scientists has been proven after 16 weeks of receiving oil from the seeds of saffron by a group of women. With regular examination of the indicators in their blood is found that the level of sugar in their blood decreased with about 11 to 19%.
Saffron against cancer
The benefits of saffron in the fight against cancer does prove after a study of Arab scientists from the Emirates. They say that the spice has a preventive effect against cancer of the liver and fatty liver. In the case of medical experiments with mice, which had been given saffron there is a suppression of the deadly cancer cells.
Moreover, it stimulates their cell death. There are also several previous studies for the anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant.
Saffron against depression
“Red Gold”, as called the saffron spice is famous not only for its flavor but also that treat depression. The reason saffron remove depression is that it help the production of serotonin, also called hormone of happiness.
We all know the role of serotonin in regulating sleep, mood, and even sexuality. Even the ancient Phoenicians and Persians knew these antidepressant properties of saffron. They also used the saffron to improve mood and remove melancholy attacks.
The active substance contained in saffron literally blocks the breakdown of the hormone of happiness in the body.
To fight depression, pour in a cup of warm water 5-6 stamens of saffron. From this aromatic drink take 1-2 sips during the day. This tea also helps against some eye diseases.
Weight Loss with safflower oil
Recently, some supplements for weight loss added to their ingredients safflower oil. Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 safflower oil improves liver metabolism. It helps to avoid the accumulation of toxins and fat in it, which leads to prevention and treatment of fatty liver.
Another effect of the use of this oil is to reduce appetite and melting of accumulated fat, which logically leads to weight loss. Additionally, is shown that safflower oil prevents the entry of fat cells from the food into the body, by reducing fat deposits in the body. Also for maximum benefit from safflower oil’ properties, it is advisable to use it in combination with a proper diet.