Did you know that Saffron comes from the crocus flower? The crocus reminds me of Spring! It also conjures up images of paella and other orange coloured delights. Does it remind you of anything?
What is Saffron?
Saffron is a spice and these days it mainly originates from an area near Greece. It comes from a particular variety of crocus called crocus sativus.
The crocus sativus has three long stigma, which during harvesting are manually pulled away from the flower. The upper, red portion is called the pistils and it is the most valuable, in terms of flavour and colour.
Once they are harvested the stigmas are dried and lightly toasted. This is a delicate process, as the tiniest slip-up can end up costing a producer thousands of dollars.
Did you know that for one kilo of Saffron the stigmas from 100,000 to 150,000 flowers are needed?
What is Saffron used for?
Saffron has been used in a wide variety of ways for over 3000 years! In cooking, you can taste and see it’s vibrant orange colour in the curries of Asia, the risottos of Italy, and paellas of Spain.
It is crocin, a carotenoid chemical compound that gives saffron its rich red colour and perfume-like quality.
Traditionally, saffron was used as a fabric dye in China and as a perfume in India. The Ancient Egyptians used it to treat inflammation and the Ancient Romans used it as a deodoriser, so the idea of using it in this way is not new.
More recently, it is being explored for the carotenoid compounds that it contains, as they are known to have anti-cancer properties.
Saffron Oil & it’s Health Benefits?
Saffron is a very nutrient dense and therefore the oil that is extracted from it is associated with many health benefits. It is enriched with calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C, among others. Saffron has also been used in traditional medicines for centuries.
It is known to have a wide range of benefits for your hair, skin and overall health, some of the best known examples are for;
a) Radiant skin – saffron oil contains compounds such as selenium and zinc, which combine to bring nutrition to the skin and to lighten it.
b) Oily skin – it contains selenium, phosphorous, and niacin (vitamin B3), giving it antifungal properties, which can help to treat blemishes, to heal and to keep acne at bay.
c) Skin toning – it contains high levels of vitamin C which tones the skin.
d) Dry skin – the combination of vitamins and minerals in saffron oil help to improve overall skin texture and to help to reduce dry skin.
e) Blood circulation – the iron in saffron oil helps to bring oxygen to the surface of the skin contributing to improved circulation.
f) Anti-cancer properties – saffron oil is rich in carotenoids, such as crocin, which have a positive effect on immunity and are considered to have anti-cancer properties.
It is this oil that is used in our Saffron natural deodorant, and which makes sure that it is gentle on your skin.