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Crocus sativus

Name: Saffron
Biological Name: Crocus sativus, Crocus saffron
Other Names: Saffron, Kum Kuma, Zaffran, Kesar, Autumn crocus, Spanish saffron, dyer's saffron, thistle saffron, bastard saffron, parrot's corn, American saffron, Agnishikha, Bhavarakta, Jafran, Kashmirajanma, Kecara, Keshar, Kessar, Kunkumappu, Kunkuma-kesara, Kunkumma-purru, Kunkuma-puvva, Kusrunam, Mangal, Mangalya, Safran, Saurab,  Zafrah, Zipharana

Saffron is a small perennial plant which is cultivated in many places, but particularly in France, Spain, Sicily, and Iran. In springtime, an onion-like corm produces basal, linear leaves which are surrounded as a group at the bottom by cylindrical sheaths. These gray-green leaves have hairy margins and grow to about 1 or1-1/2 feet feet long. About August or September, the corm produces a funnel-shaped, reddish-purple (sometimes lilac or white) flower.

Parts Used: Dried stigmas

The name saffron comes from the Arabic zafaran (means yellow) - a sacred color chosen by Buddhist monks for their robes.

Saffron is very expensive. 200,000 flowers have to be harvested by hand to obtain 1 pound of saffron - This may explain the high cost.

Saffron had been prized as a dye medication and culinary spice since Greek and Roman times. Arab traders introduced the spice to Spain. Became a mainstay of many Mediterranean diets.

Due to the high cost, this herb is often adulterated. Be careful in choosing.

Medicinal Applications

Alterative, anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, stimulant, rejuvenative

Therapeutic Uses:

Saffron has been used, in small doses only, for coughs, whooping cough, stomach gas, gastrointestinal colic and insomnia. As an ingredient in herb liqueurs, it serves as a stimulant to appetite; and it is sometimes made into a salve for treatment of gout.

Saffron is used in sedatives, as an antispasmodic and for flatulence. It is also used in perfumes and dyes.

Saffron is used in small doses, in fevers, melancholia, enlargement of the liver, and asthma. Saffron is also useful for treating anemia, chlorosis and seminal debility.

Saffron is considered to be a sovereign remedy, not to be excelled in virtue by any other drug as  a stimulant and aphrodisiac.

Other uses of Saffron:

          for rheumatism and neuralgia
          for looseness of the bowels
          to relieve flatulent colic, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, leucorrhoea
          for painful affections of the uterus
          for headaches
          for bruises and superficial sores
          snake bite

Saffron Classic Remedy is a classical Ayurvedic remedy that is useful for chronic diarrhea, chronic discharges and seminal weakness.

Infusion, milk decoction, powder

Infusion: Steep 6 to 10 stigmas in 1/2 cup water. Take 1/2 to 1 cup a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.

Tincture, dose: 5 to 20 Minims

Saffron tea (1 in 80), dose -1 to 4 ounces.

Do not use when pregnant; large doses is narcotic

CAUTION: Saffron contains a poison that acts on the central nervous system and damages the kidneys. Large doses can have severe effects; 10 to 12 grams is a fatal dose for human beings.

The high cost of saffron and the availability of synthetic substitutes make its use as medicine rare.

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