Saffron has been used for centuries as an antiseptic and a preservative. Because it is poisonous, it has to be consumed in very small quantities. But saffron is not simply another spice.
Saffron is one of the world’s oldest spices (it is from a plant in India), dating back to at least the 8th century B.C., or more than 10,000 years ago, according to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
But its traditional use goes beyond mere antiseptic. It has a healing influence, says the institute, and can be used to cleanse the body. It can also be used to cure skin complaints and to cleanse the body, especially the digestive system.
“Saffron can be used to relieve pain, reduce congestion, help in digestion, remove excess fat and improve the immunity. It can also treat a host of disorders, including skin ulcerative diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatic fever, and cough and allergies in the lungs,” says the institute.
When is saffron a good idea?
Since saffron grows in India, the most widely available variety is saffron A, which is used in Indian cuisine and used in traditional Indian cosmetics and treatments. It is also used in traditional dentifrices. The yellow varieties of saffron are used sparingly.
But if you are seeking the best saffron available today, try the best-quality wild saffron, and not one with the yellow, which is not as strong as the saffron A varieties.
Some commercial saffron sellers sell the yellow varieties that have been cultivated as part of a scientific research project and then resold in the marketplace, as well as those sold as herbal supplements.
“A lot of consumers are more comfortable eating saffron and will use it if they find that it is from natural sources,” says Suresh Kumar, a sales coordinator at Lighthouse Foods, a commercial saffron seller.
“But they may have to buy it from a professional because saffron has a much higher concentration of citric acid in it. The levels at which it forms the sourness can be very high,” Kumar says.
Safer, but more expensive
Saffron has long been a delicacy, says Suresh Kumar, who is also a food scientist. It is grown and processed extensively in India. The
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