Saffron Tea And Its Benefits
Hippocrates was a proponent of Saffron and all of its health-boosting benefits. This ancient herb has been traditionally used to help improve colds, stomach ailments and heart trouble. This yellow saffron tea was also used to dye clothing as one small grain of saffron turns 10 gallons of water into a yellow color. So, use caution with your countertops when using this herb.
What is Saffron?
Saffron’s botanical name is Crocus sativus. Part of the iris family, this herb, made from the crocus flower, is often used as a spice in cooking, but can also be made into a flavorful, yet bitter tea. The flowers, which have three stigmas, along with the stem are harvested and dried and ground into the spice.
What is Saffron Tea Good For?
Saffron has been studied for centuries to determine the extent of its healthy properties. From ancient uses to current trends, saffron has been shown to be beneficial for:
- improving vision
- regulating blood sugar
- metabolizing carbohydrates
- preventing free-radical damage
- alleviating depression
- reducing coughs
- aiding weight loss
- suppressing cancer
- reducing pre-menstrual syndrome
- lessening the risk of cardiovascular disease
- fighting infections
- purifying blood
Saffron’s benefits are extensive and can be used in conjunction with traditional medical approaches to improve your health. Always speak with your doctor before using saffron for your diagnosed medical conditions. Most likely, saffron is safe for you as it has been used for thousands of years with no known side effects.
What Does Saffron Tea Taste Like?
Saffron is considered an exotic spice. Its exotic, pungent, earthy flavor may take some getting used to. If you currently use saffron to cook, you may already be familiar with its flavorful aroma and bold color. The flowers that contribute to saffron are part of the lily family. Lily’s have a strong aroma too.
If the strong flavor of saffron does not beckon you on a daily basis, try combining saffron with other herbal teas. Saffron and green tea combine well together and boost the immunity-improving benefits of each tea. You can try a combination of saffron with a fruity tea such as peach or raspberry, or add another intense flavor such as peppermint to help alleviate depression. Another option is to sweeten the bitter taste of saffron with sugar or honey or a lemon wedge to encourage you to drink the tea.
Healing Benefits of Saffron Tea
Saffron tea contains many beneficial properties such as Vitamin C, manganese, iron and Vitamin B6. Its extract has been used to make tinctures and topical ointments that improve skin conditions such as the loss of hair. It is also useful as an aphrodisiac. According to the Journal of Tehran University Heart Center, saffron’s benefits extend to the cardiovascular system. It has cholesterol lowering properties and may also help reduce inflammation which contributes to heart disease. Research conducted by Professor Silvia Bisti of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science (The Vision Centre) and University of L’Aquila, Italy, has shown the benefits of saffron on eyesight. Studies show improvements in those who are visually impaired, a protection against damage from bright light such as the sun and also cellular repair in those suffering from macular degeneration.
The combined benefits from the properties of saffron include:
- antioxidant effects
- anti-inflammatory action
- metabolism-boosting effects
- blood sugar regulation
- cancer inhibition
- neurological protection
- sexual dysfunction effects
- visual attributes
- appetite suppressant
- anti-depressive actions
- improving gastrointestinal discomforts
- sedative actions
- expectorant to lessen coughs such as Whooping Cough
Biochemical Profile of Saffron Tea
One ounce of saffron contains 400 percent of the daily recommended value of manganese, according to Dr. Mercola. Manganese helps to regulate blood sugar levels, break down carbohydrates, build tissues and bones, absorb calcium and make sex hormones. Vitamin C is the next largest component of saffron. Vitamin C is highly known for its anti-oxidative properties and can boost your immune system. The iron in saffron helps to improve the quality of your blood. The Vitamin B6 helps to increase your energy by ensuring your nerves are functioning well and it also contributes to the making of red blood cells. Saffron is also a good source of potassium which is needed for healthy cellular functions.
Other components in saffron tea include Picrocrocin which contributes to the strong taste of the drink and Safranal which is part of the strong odor. Carotenoids such as Crocin help to protect your cells from free radical damage. Crocetin helps to reduce hardening of the arteries and lowers cholesterol which contributes to a reduced risk for heart disease. Crocetin is also shown to increase the benefits of antibiotics and combined with saffron’s rich source of riboflavin, it has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Are There Any Side Effects from Saffron Tea?
Most people consume saffron without experiencing any side effects. In rare cases, saffron may cause dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, headaches, changes in appetite and anxiety. For others, the reaction may be severe with vomiting, yellowing of the skin or bleeding from the nose. It is essential to limit your intake of saffron tea to the recommended dosage and always check with your primary care physician before choosing an herbal remedy. Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid saffron as its safety has not been tested.
WebMD cautions those who are suffering from bipolar disorder to avoid using saffron as it may contribute to a manic state. If you have a heart condition, saffron changes the heart beat and can worse some heart conditions. For those with low blood pressure, saffron may lower it even more and should be avoided. If you have an allergy to olives, you may also show an allergic reaction to saffron.
Dosage and How to Make Saffron Tea
15 to 30 mg a day of saffron is sufficient to help with conditions such as depression, PMS and Alzheimer’s. Crush 1 to 2 teaspoons of saffron and steep it in one cup of boiling water. Steep until it has reached your desired taste and concentration. Cool to room temperature before you enjoy.
Where to buy Saffron Tea
Since saffron is an expensive spice, be aware of alternatives that try to represent themselves as saffron. Indian safflower is one of these and produces a much lighter color. Purchasing saffron from a specialty grocer may be the best way to buy the tea. Also, use caution that you are not buying meadow saffron as it can be toxic.
Who Can Benefit From Saffron Tea?
Those who need immune-boosting, anti-cancer, neurological and cardiovascular help can benefit from saffron tea. It is also helpful for those suffering from depression and uncomfortable PMS.
What We Like About Saffron Tea
Saffron tea may be an indulgence, but it does the job. Plus, the side effects are few, so it can be used by many. It also does not appear to interact with other medications. You can use the spice is cooking as well as in your tea so the dual purpose is convenient.
Did You Know?
- Saffron is, by weight, the most expensive spice to purchase.
- Saffron is native to Iran and is still cultivated by hand.
- Saffron has been added to liquors and also used in perfume and as a fabric dye.