Saffron – health benefits

Historically, saffron has been used as an aphro­disiac, diaphoretic (to cause sweating), carmi­native (to prevent gas), and emmenagogue (to bring on menstruation). In Japan, saffron is en­capsulated and used as a sleep aid and in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Modern re­search suggests the spice may provide protec­tion against cancer, memory loss, heart disease, and inflammation.

Saffron contains a dark orange, water- soluble carotene called crocin, which is respon­sible for much of saffron’s golden color. It has potent antioxidant and anticancer effects, which may help explain saffron’s historical use in can­cer treatment. Crocin has been found to trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in a number of different types of human cancer cells, includ­ing murine tumors, liver cancer, and leukemia. In addition, in studies conducted in China, saf­fron has demonstrated anticancer activity against a wide spectrum of cancers, including leukemia, ovarian carcinoma, colon adenocarci­noma, rhabdomyosarcoma, papilloma, squa­mous cell carcinoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma, and has also been used to protect against coro­nary heart disease and hepatitis and to promote healthy immunity.

Source: Encyclopedia of Healing Foods