Saffron-4,000+ Years of Medicinal & Culinary Wonder

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Writings of saffron spices being used as a medicine span over 4000 years and cover over 90 conditions that saffron had been used to treat. Saffron is used as a herb in both eastern and western medicine.

Saffron has been used for a long time in eastern medicine. Saffron is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as asthma, coughs, alcoholism, acne, and skin diseases.

Saffron in Unani medicine has been used in the treatment of liver, kidney and urinary infections. Saffron has been used to help cure menstrual disorders in women, to strengthen the heart and also as a coolant for the brain.

Saffron has been used in western medicine. Around 1500 BC saffron is found as having been used for the treatment of kidney disorders. Saffron spice helps to lower the level of blood cholesterol. Compounds within saffron are said to promote anti-viral and anti-bacterial ability of the body. Finally, records dating back to medieval times show saffron was used in anti cancer activities.

These days most people buy saffron for its use as a cooking spice, however it is interesting to see just how many diverse uses this spice has beyond just that of using saffron cooking techniques. It is also of great interest to read about saffron history traversing some 4000 years, many continents and cultures.



Saffron is used extensively in European, North African, and Asian cuisines. Its aroma is described by experts as resembling that of honey, with grassy, hay-like, and metallic notes. Saffron’s taste is like that of hay, but with hints of bitter. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange coloring to items it is soaked with. For these traits saffron is used in baked goods, cheeses, confectioneries, curries, liquors, meat dishes, and soups. Saffron is used in India, Iran, Spain, and other countries as a condiment for rice.

Experienced saffron users often crumble and pre-soak threads for several minutes prior to adding them to their dishes. For example, they may toss threads into water or sherry and leave them to soak for approximately ten minutes. This process extracts the threads’ color and flavor into the liquid phase; powdered saffron does not require this step. Afterward, the soaking solution is added to the hot and cooking dish. This allows even distribution of saffron’s color and flavor throughout a dish, and is important when preparing baked goods or thick sauces.

Saffron is awesome!!! 😀