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True saffron is a medicinal plant, which has its medicinal properties concentrated in the filament of the flower. Rich in crocin, crocetin, safranal and kaempferol, this type of saffron has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it very useful to relieve PMS symptoms, aid in weight loss or prevent cardiovascular diseases.
The scientific name of true turmeric is Crocus sativus, which is different from turmeric, also known as turmeric, and whose scientific name is Curcuma longa, another type of medicinal plant, widely used in cooking but it has different properties. Check out the main benefits of turmeric.
Saffron can be found in natural products stores, compounding pharmacies, markets or open fairs for use in cooking or tea preparation.Its use in the form of tea should always be done with the guidance of a doctor or other he alth professional with experience in the use of medicinal plants, especially if it is being used to help treat a he alth problem.
What is it for
Studies done with saffron have shown that this plant has several medicinal properties. That way it can be used for:
1. Fighting depression
Some studies [1, 2] have shown that crocin and safranal present in turmeric have a similar action to some antidepressants, such as fluoxetine and imipramine, as they help to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are two types of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. In this way, saffron can help treat depression, anxiety and mood swings.
2. Help control diabetes
Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which protect pancreas cells and improve insulin production, regulating blood glucose levels, which helps control diabetes.
3. Promote weight loss
Some studies [3, 4] show that saffron can help with weight loss as it improves mood and reduces appetite, leading to lower calorie intake during the day.
Also, another study  showed that turmeric supplementation can also help reduce BMI, waist circumference and total fat mass.
4. Relieve PMS Symptoms
Due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant properties, turmeric may help alleviate some of the most common symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, anxiety, headache, cramping and cravings for sweet foods.
5. Aid in the treatment of Alzheimer's
Saffron has antioxidant properties that help reduce the damage caused by free radicals in neurons, in addition to increasing levels of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory that is reduced in Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the production of inflammatory and toxic substances for neurons. However, further studies are needed to prove this benefit.
6. Prevent Parkinson's disease
Studies carried out with cells and with mice, in the laboratory, have shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of crocetin, present in saffron, helps to protect neurons, being able to prevent and even help in Parkinson's disease, improving lack of motor coordination. However, human studies are still needed to prove this benefit.
7. Prevent cardiovascular disease
The crocin present in saffron, due to its potent antioxidant action, helps to reduce bad cholesterol that is responsible for forming fatty plaques in the arteries. Thus, this plant can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack or stroke.
8. Improve sexual he alth
Saffron has aphrodisiac properties that help increase well-being, desire and libido, especially in people using antidepressants, improving erectile dysfunction in men and intimate lubrication in women. Discover other foods that improve sexual he alth.
9. Aid in the fight against cancer
Some studies done [5, 6, 7] in the laboratory with skin, bowel, breast, cervix, prostate and lung cancer cells show that antioxidant substances present in turmeric can help to decrease the proliferation or increase the death of cells of these types of cancer.
Also, turmeric can make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy treatment. However, human studies are still needed to prove this benefit.
How to use
Saffron can be found as a spice, being useful for seasoning foods, especially meats and sauces.
In addition, it can also be used as a home remedy in the form of tea.
1. Saffron Tea
Saffron tea must be prepared with the red filaments present in the center of the flowers from which active substances with medicinal properties are extracted.
- 1 teaspoon of saffron filaments;
- 500 mL of boiling water.
Add the saffron filaments to the boiling water. Cover and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, wait for it to cool and drink 1 cup of saffron tea, once a day.
Since saffron tea has a slightly bitter taste, you can add other ingredients, such as cinnamon, ginger or honey, to disguise the bitter taste and make it more pleasant to drink.
2. Saffron Capsules
Another way to use saffron is in the form of supplements in capsules, with a dose of 20 to 100 mg per day being generally recommended for up to 3 months of treatment, according to medical advice.
Possible side effects
Turmeric is safe for most adults when used in small amounts in food preparation or consumed for short periods of time. However, if turmeric is consumed in excessive amounts, in doses greater than 100 mg per day, or for longer than 26 weeks, it can cause side effects such as drowsiness, delirium, dizziness, or gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Saffron can also cause poisoning, especially when consumed in high doses of 5 g or more, which can be life-threatening.
Who should not use
Saffron should not be used by breastfeeding or pregnant women as it can promote contractions of the uterus, increasing the risk of miscarriage or bleeding.
Furthermore, saffron should not be used by people who suffer from bipolar disorder, or who are allergic to saffron, olive or other plant species such as Lolium, Salsola or Olea.