Saffron is a delightful, yet expensive spice that seems to offer more than fragrant flavoring to recipes. Nutricraze describes saffron as a possible remedy for a number of different conditions, including fatigue, sore gums, heart disease, and it can help promote mental clarity. Although these claims appear to be excessive, a new international study has looked into the spice with eye-opening results.
Saffron and Vision
Professor Silvia Bisti led the study at Italy’s L’Aquila University. The professor conducted the study through the university’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science. It appears that saffron may protect and correct vision in individuals who have retinitis pigmentosa or muscular degeneration related to age.
The study found that saffron is a powerful antioxidant, affecting the genes that manage fatty acid levels in the membranes of the cells. Vision cells become stronger and more apt to heal with the support of the antioxidant. The effects are impressive, with human subjects with age-related muscular degeneration experiencing restored sight with the help of saffron.
The researchers suggest that the next endeavor resulting from the promising study is to determine which components in saffron contain the vision-repairing elements. The specific ingredients are not readily apparent, but the spice has enjoyed much acclaim for many centuries.
Saffron Health Benefits
The health benefits of saffron are not necessarily the first thing fans of the exotic spice think of. The spice is very difficult to harvest, making it an expensive ingredient. It takes more than 4,500 flowers to yield a single ounce of the spice. The expense and painstaking efforts may be well worth the effort considering the possible health benefits the spice offers.
Saffron is full of surprises, including its medicinal purposes. Health problems that have been treated with the spice include:
• Digestive problems
• Menstrual problems
• Common colds
Saffron and Depression
A recent study suggests that saffron may be as effective as Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression. More research is necessary in order to determine the effectiveness of saffron in the treatment of depressive disorders. The approach is promising, but it may not be prudent considering how expensive the spice is.
The spice is pricy, making it a poor choice for many people. Some people may be tempted to try saffron in supplements but this approach may not yield very good results. The supplements are notorious for having inferior ingredients and additives. Pregnant women should not take saffron for medicinal purposes, and anyone considering the approach should consult their physicians.
It is always a good idea to purchase any spice or food product through a reputable source. If the price seems too good to be true, chances are that the spice isn’t really saffron. Some suppliers try to sell safflower to people looking for the spice. Unfortunately, there is no real replacement for saffron. Some suggest turmeric is an adequate replacement, but it is certain that the replacement will not offer the same medicinal benefits.
June 8th, 2009
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