Six health benefits of saffron, the ‘Persian Red Gold’

Saffron is nicknamed the ‘Persian Red Gold’ as it is the most expensive spice in the world! Saffron, the stems of crocus flower is mainly used in cooking, herbal remedies and beauty industry in form of fragrance and natural dye. The high price of saffron is due to the very laborious process of producing this spice, for example 180,000 flowers with 3 stigmas are required to make up a kilo of saffron costing up to £6000 per kilo depending on quality.

For 2500 years, Persians cultivated saffron for a variety of uses including spice, perfume, dye for fabrics and carpets and more importantly as a herbal medicine.

Saffron contains a variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants, notably saffron antioxidants include kaempferol, crocetin, crocin and safranal. Research shows safranal may help improve your mood, memory, and learning ability, as well as protecting your brain cells against oxidative stress. 

Avicenna, the famous Persian physician and the father of modern medicine, called saffron the ‘power of life’ in his book ‘The Cannon of Medicine’. Modern research goes some way to validate many of Avicenna’s claims on saffron’s healing properties such as it may:

1. enhance mood,

2. enhance memory and learning abilities,

3. be used for treatment of mild depressive symptoms,

4. help with reduction of PMS symptoms,

5. contain strong antioxidant properties,

6. reduce appetite and aid weight loss.

Scientific researches such as:

· Journal of behavioural science from 2013

· Herbal Medicines, Other Than St. John's Wort, in the Treatment of Depression

· Safranal From an Aromatic Natural Product to a Rewarding Pharmacological Agent

· Saffron and Crocin Improved Appetite, Dietary Intakes and Body Composition in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

discuss the health benefits of saffron at depth and act as a credible validation.

Saffron is easy to buy and add to your diet. Although it is expensive, a very small amount can be enough for many culinary uses. There are many retail outlets as well as specialist suppliers such as Zoetic that sell saffron and give ideas and guidance on how to recognise and use genuine saffron.

Ancestors of Xachoh’s founder prescribed saffron as a 'mood improver' to their patients. Xachoh Blend No. 7 contains distilled saffron.