Hindi Name– Kesar
Saffron is an herb which has become able to maintain a unique identifiable among the other herbs because of its aroma. The herb is soluble in water. It is also used in dishes to provide them pure and proper color. If this is given with high dosage then it can exhibit toxic qualities. It is a most expensive herb. Due to its high price, the herb is also called “the golden spice”. The herb’s history rooted in antiquity. As the herb is blessed with extraordinary flavoring as well as medicinal properties so, it has become able to maintain a special place in the world of herbs.
Indian saffron is cultivated in the areas of Jammu and Kashmir on a large scale. The cool and dry climate with rich soil, which has excellent drainage and organic content is the best one for the saffron and that is the reason, J &K is the biggest producer of this herb. Saffron is also cultivated in other parts of the world, but the Indian saffron is considered superior as compared to them. From many times, immemorial saffron has become able to maintain special place both in culture and also in the tradition. Its most famous properties are medicinal, flavoring and coloring properties.
Like many the name saffron is derived from Arabic za’fran “be yellow”. Also, Sanskrit and Hindi names of the herb are also derived from the Indian region Kashmir as here the old saffron was produced. It is the most expansive species in the world. Also, very few countries have produced this spice. There is no substitute for the quality of the saffron.
Saffron is slender, reddish brown, dried and flattened stigma of a small crocus of the iris family. The spice was cultivated in the Western Mediterranean to India. Also, at small scale, saffron is also cultivated in Italy and also Greece. In western as well as Asian areas, Iran is the highest producer along with Spain as the both combine produces about 80% of the total production of saffron in the world, but the saffron that is produced in Indian areas has a much high reputation all around the world.
In Northern Indian and Central Asia, saffron is used for the preparation of the rice dishes. Many of the popular Indian dishes can’t even produced without the flavor of saffron. Some of the Indian sweets are Ras Malai, Kheer, butter Lassi and Indian lassi. Even in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Saffron have is used for flavoring sweet dishes.
Saffron is native of Southern Europe. Also, ancient Greeks and Romans have knowledge of this herb. England used to import the herb from the East. Many of the ancient texts have a small description about the herb as it is mentioned in the Bible and in classical western writings. Also, in Ayurvedic texts, Bhavprakash Nighantu there is a description of Saffron.
Saffron is an herb of the family Iridaceae. If you look at the plant then it is a small bulbous perennial plant. The part of the plant which is used is made by drying the stigmas and the part of the styles of the purple colored autumn crocus. The taste is bitter and also have aromatic odor. This is one of the oldest spices in the world. As an estimate, a pound of saffron consists of 225,000-500,000 dried stigmas and also it requires about 75, 000 flowers. So, it can clearly give you an indication that how much efforts for harvesting has been taken by the man.
Culinary Uses– For international cuisines, Saffron is very much popular. For making Mughlai dishes, this works as an indispensable ingredient. Also, for preparing royal table chef use this herb in a liberal manner. To provide aroma and beautiful tinge to dish, saffron is necessary. For both curries and sweets, the golden spice is used. Especially in India, dishes when garnished with saffron, then it provides an indication of honor for the guest or for whom the dish is going to serve. It is also used to provide color to the dish. So that it is used in bakery and confectionery preparations. Also, in many exotic dishes, saffron is used. In Spain, for rice dishes saffron is considered necessary. Also, here it is also used for providing color to butter, pudding, cheese and pastry. It is also used for seasoning foods too.
Health Benefits of Saffron
Medicinal Benefits – In preparation of Ayurvedic, Chinese, Unani and Tibetan medicines saffron is used. Also, it is stimulant, dry and warm in action. So, it is perfect for the treatment of digestive, urinary and uterine problems.
For the treatment of chronic diseases like asthma and arthritis, saffron is used in Ayurveda. Also, the herb is used for treating problems like cold and cough. Those skin products which have saffron are considered best for treating skin problems like acne. If you have any bruises then you can just prepare a paste with saffron and directly apply over the sores or bruises then can get relief from it.
Some of the best descriptions even said that saffron can also be used as an aphrodisiac. It also helps to promote libido and is a stimulant. Across India, the herb is used as an indigenous medicine. Medicines which are helpful in maintaining the functions of the stomach and also functions, if have saffron are considered best. For contracting spasmodic disorders and sustaining involuntary muscle contraction, saffron is used.
For those who have digestive disorders can take help of saffron. It is very much beneficial for flatulent colic. Also, because of its properties, this is used in treating fevers, melancholia and also enlargement of spleen as well as liver. Medicines that are meant for inflammatory if have a content of saffron seems best. For treatment of diabetes, a combo of both ghee and saffron is used. It is also good for providing strength to the heart. It also provides coolness and calmness to the brain. For treating urinary problems, saffron is used. If you soak the saffron in water and leave it overnight and net morning administrate with honey, is proved a diuretic.