The health and beauty benefits of saffron

As well as bringing a golden hue and aromatic flavour to sweet and savoury dishes, clinical trials are increasingly suggesting that saffron might offer a number of therapeutic health and beauty benefits. Whether it’s acting as an aphrodisiac or managing your moods, saffron may be beneficial in several ways:

Mood managing

While wider trials are needed, promising placebo-controlled studies have shown that saffron (30mg, taken daily) is equally effective as fluoxetine and imipramine (common antidepressants) in the treatment of mild/moderate depression. Saffron has also been associated with reduced symptoms of PMS. While saffron stigma remain pricy, some research suggests that the much cheaper Crocus Sativus petal may have the same mood-managing benefits.

Heart helping

Saffron has also been shown to reduce inflammation in patients with coronary heart disease, when consumed at a high dose (100mg, taken daily). This is believed to be due to saffron’s high antioxidant content. Researchers have speculated that this may help to explain why incidences of cardiovascular disease in Spain – where saffron is consumed liberally – are relatively low.

Spice up your sex life

Those wishing to enjoy a steamy evening in should consider swapping a glass of wine for a cup of saffron tea. While alcohol inhibits sexual function, saffron has been proven to boost performance in the bedroom.

Tone up

The Elizabethans steeped a little saffron in milk overnight and applied it to their faces, adding a few threads to their (occasional!) baths to work as a natural toner. Homemade beauty aficionados can try adding a few threads of saffron to pure honey for a luxurious facemask that can help make skin brighter, smoother and more radiant.

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