Famously the most expensive spice in the world, saffron is certainly worth its weight in gold. This illustrious, golden-red spice comes from the stigma of the saffron crocus, and it can take thousands of flowers to produce a single pound of saffron. But beyond its pricey reputation, the benefits of saffron are numerous, and it has traditionally been used as everything from a mood enhancer to an immune system-booster. Check out our article below to read more about the benefits of saffron and how you can incorporate this sacred herb into your Ayurvedic routine.
As mentioned above, saffron is commonly incorporated into Ayurvedic recipes and routines, thanks to its powerful health benefits. Research has discovered that saffron is an effective antioxidant, as it carries the antioxidants crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol. The first two of these are known antidepressants, and also can reduce inflammation and protect brain cells against damage over time. Safranal can improve memory, mood and learning ability, and may help your brain cope better under stress. Kaempferol is known to reduce inflammation in the body, and studies suggest it may have anti-cancer properties.
In addition to this, incorporating saffron into your diet may be an effective way to treat PMS. The spice can help reduce irritability, inflammation, mood swings, pain and cravings. Research suggests that even smelling saffron for a few minutes can help naturally reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
While saffron has plenty of physical benefits, it’s also a known mood enhancer. This aromatic spice has positively impacted those suffering with depression, as research has revealed that taking a daily saffron supplement of 30 mg can help treat depression about as effectively as conventional medications, with fewer side effects.
For those who do take antidepressants, saffron can also be used as an aphrodisiac to increase libido. This is one of the traditional uses of the herb in Ayurveda, and it was often incorporated into traditional wedding ceremonies for this purpose. One of the reasons saffron is so effective for this purpose is because it is a yogavahi herb, acting as a catalyst for other Ayurvedic herbs and helping to activate them. When other herbs and stimuli release oxytocin in the body, saffron enhances the release of oxytocin, improving your mood and creating a more pleasurable experience. However, it should be noted that saffron is not recommended for use by pregnant women.
How to Incorporate Saffron Into Your Routine
In addition to the many other benefits of saffron, this bright herb is also delicious and aromatic, and can easily be added into a variety of dishes. In particular, saffron combines well with most other Ayurvedic herbs, and its flavor can be added to savory and sweet dishes. Since it’s so potent, only a tiny amount is needed. Traditionally, saffron can be used to add flavor to rice, or it can be made into a luxurious tea.
Beyond consuming saffron, it can also be made into a paste and used topically to treat sores and bruises. Saffron paste is also commonly used to improve complexion when applied directly to pimples, blackheads or areas of discoloration. Consuming powdered saffron mixed with milk or honey is also said to have the same benefits.
Typically considered a tridoshic herb, saffron is a great herb to incorporate when you feel out of balance. Whether you’re in need of a total detox, or simply need a grounded routine to restore your sense of wellness, saffron is the perfect herb to utilize. In particular, saffron is ideal for the transition between the seasons, as the Kapha energies of spring melt into the hot Pitta vibes of summer.
If you’re feeling out of balance, or are looking for an easy way to enhance your Ayurvedic routine, be sure to check out YouVeda’s My Healthy Mood supplement. This doctor-formulated and recommended supplement is made with an organic blend of ashwagandha, saffron, bacopa, shilajeet, and more, which supports healthy adrenals and calms an overactive mind that can affect your mood, libido, response to pain and immunity. With a just a pinch of saffron, you can boost your body, mind, and spirit, and start living your best life.
Author: Alexandria Baker (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)