Saffron (crocus) - a perennial plant of the family Iris, native to the forests, steppes and meadows.
15-20 cm in height, consists of the stem, leaves and green colors with three 2-3 stigmas orange. Saffron blooms in autumn from October to November and the spring flowers of white, orange, blue, purple hues. The fruits of the plant are trilocular boxes with small angular seeds. The alleged birthplace of the plant is considered to be Asia Minor.
In nature, there are about 80 species of crocus, some of them are listed as endangered. The most common and well-known species of crocus are:
- Nigro Fight;
The composition of saffron includes flavonoids, glycosides, protokrotsin, carotenoids, crocin, vitamins, starch and oils (from 0 to 4% 1% 3) are rich in cineole and safranol.
The beneficial properties of saffron
The beneficial properties of saffron due to rich in vitamins and glycoside composition. Saffron is an effective tool for:
- Whooping cough;
- Alzheimer's disease;
- Coughing up blood;
- Premenstrual syndrome;
- Premature ejaculation;
It is also widely known to use saffron as an aphrodisiac.
Saffron is a good source of minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of the cells and body fluids, which helps to regulate the heart rate and blood pressure.
Manganese and copper are used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production, and as a cofactor for the enzyme cytochrome oxidase.
In addition saffron is rich in many essential vitamins, including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C, necessary to maintain immunity.
Experimentally confirmed the therapeutic properties of saffron, which are effective in:
- Anxiety disorders;
- Cardiac hypertrophy;
- Toxic liver disease;
- Colorectal cancer;
- Diabetic neuropathy;
- Erectile dysfunction;
- Liver cancer;
- Middle cerebral artery occlusion;
- Multiple Sclerosis;
- Pancreatic cancer;
- Respiratory diseases;
- Wound healing.
The use of saffron
properties of saffron was known in the days of ancient Egypt and Rome, where the plant was used as a coloring agent, the drug is added to the perfume and cooking. From there he was introduced to China, and then spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In Morocco, saffron is used to relieve toothache, when children grow up first teeth, and in France during the Renaissance woman painted with a mixture of lemon and saffron hair for lasting color.
Today, most major importers of saffron in the world is Iran, India and Spain, which are recognized by most manufacturers of high-quality spices.
Saffron is widely used in cooking and is the most expensive spice in the world. The high cost of saffron is due to the fact that the flowers of the plant contains only three stigmas, which is obtained from the spice. To get half a kilo of spices needed to process between 70,000 and 250,000 colors, which are assembled by hand in the fall, when the flowers are fully disclosed.
When buying saffron is necessary, first of all, pay attention to the color of spices. Saffron good quality should be evenly colored, bright red or dark orange. Spice is available in the form of powder or stigmas (filaments).
In cooking saffron used to give dishes rich color and aroma. This spice is indispensable for such dishes like risotto, paella and bouillabaisse.
Also cooking saffron is used in soups, sauces and salad dressings.
In Indian cooking saffron is added to the milk used in the daily diet as a means of improving digestion, cleanses the blood and reduces fatigue and exhaustion.
In manufacturing, saffron extracts are used in perfumery and as a colorant in the fabric.
In traditional medicine, turmeric is part of the antidepressant medication improves digestion, antiseptic, and anticonvulsants.
The use saffron as a drug is safe, provided that the deadline less than six weeks. With more prolonged use of drugs based on the reviews of saffron may experience side effects such as dry mouth, restlessness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, change in appetite, headache, and allergic reactions.
The use of saffron on responses at high doses is unsafe and can lead to poisoning, yellowing of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the nose. A dose of 12-20 grams of saffron can cause death.
Pregnancy and lactation is not necessary to use saffron in a larger amount than that usually found in food. A higher number of saffron can cause uterine contractions and abortion.
With caution should be used saffron in bipolar disorder, and people with allergies to weeds.