Saffron or ‘kesar’, is a wonder spice found in every Kashmiri household and occupies a special place in our hearts. From being added to pulaav for its unique flavour, boiled in tea for aroma, to being used as seasoning on kheer – it is one spice which the Kashmiri kitchen cannot do without!
Famously known as “kong posh” in Kashmiri, it is regarded as the most expensive and delicate spice in the world, because it needs to be harvested by hand. The ‘golden spice’ is widely grown in Pampore, a small town in Kashmir.
Even out of the kitchen, saffron has numerous amazing uses and benefits.
Read on to find out what makes this spice so unique and special –
Cure for Insomnia – Insomnia is a sleep disorder where people have trouble falling or staying asleep. Consuming saffron can not only help you sleep better, but also increases your sleeping time at night.
Improves digestion – Believe it or not, but its anti-oxidant properties help in promoting digestive health. It is also known to act as a remedy for excessive flatulence caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.
Relief from pre-menstrual symptoms – Saffron helps to really take the edge off PMS symptoms such as, mood swings, irritability, headaches and pain. Not just this, but smelling saffron is known to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, in the body.
Prevents Alzheimer’s disease – Did you know that saffron or ‘Crocus sativus’ can help fight age-related Alzheimer’s disease? It can be useful in treating mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s, as it may inhibit deposition of a particular protein in the human brain.
Relief from toothache – Since ancient times, saffron is used as a pain reliever, but who knew it can also help relieve pain from the gums? Massaging some saffron and honey on the affected tooth can also help alleviate pain.
Glowing skin –It can work wonders for your skin. A face pack of saffron, mixed with milk and sandalwood can help you achieve that radiant glow on the skin. In addition, massaging saffron-soaked water on the face, twice weekly, can also help get fairer skin.
Boosts mood and memory – Apart from improving mood, it has anti-depressant properties. A study on behavioral and brain science found that, saffron extracts increased levels of dopamine or “feel-good” hormones in the brain, leaving a person feeling happier.
Boosts pregnancy health – Pregnant women too can benefit from the wonder properties of this herb. Saffron milk helps in healthier and normal deliveries. However, ladies should be wary of consuming it in excess.
Might protect against cancer – While there is not enough evidence to prove that it prevents cancer, it may help kill cancer cells, without affecting other cells in the body. It may also stimulate formation of white blood cells, which protect the body against any kind of infection.
Enhances libido – This valuable herb also acts as an aphrodisiac – food or supplements which help boost libido in both men and women. Including saffron in the diet may significantly improve erectile function in men, and stimulate overall satisfaction in women.
We would like to sound a word of caution here – while the benefits of saffron are varied and many, consulting your doctor to understand how you can incorporate it in your diet will be a helpful exercise.
And, here’s an interesting fact –
There is no clarity over how saffron came to Kashmir. One local legend believes that Sufi saints, Khawaja Masood Ali and Sheikh Sharif-u-din Wali rewarded a local chieftain with a saffron bulb, after he cured them of an illness.
Article by Rupal Raina
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