Saffron Uses and Side Effects

The dried stigma coming from the flower of the saffron plant is what’s used for saffron spice. This part can also be used to create medicines. Creating a large quantity of this spice is no easy feat, considering that over 75,000 blossoms have to be used for a mere pound. The cultivation of saffron is mostly done by hand, plus there’s a lot of labor involved in the harvesting. It is because of these that saffron is so expensive. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive spices in the world.

Uses of saffron

Saffron extract is associated with the treatment of asthma, pertussis, cough, insomnia, atherosclerosis, cancer, flatulence, depression, shock, fright, Alzheimer’s disease, hemoptysis, dry skin, pain, and heartburn. It is also used as an expectorant to loosen phlegm. Saffron may be applied to the scalp directly to treat alopecia or baldness. It may also help induce sweating. Saffron is also used to relieve menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome in women. As for men, it is supposed to prevent infertility and to treat premature ejaculation.

Saffron can also be an aphrodisiac. As a kitchen spice, it is used as food coloring and flavoring. It even lends fragrance in certain perfumes and can be processed as cloth dye.

Side effects of saffron extract

Using saffron as a medicine is safe, provided that you use it for no more than six weeks. However, there are possible side effects that may accompany the benefits of saffron extract. These side effects include anxiety, drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea, and change in appetite. Some may also experience allergic reactions especially if you are allergic to lolium, olea, and salsola plants.

It is not recommended to take large amounts of saffron extract. This may lead to poisoning. Indicators of saffron poisoning or overdose are the yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Vomiting and diarrhea may also be experienced together with bleeding from the lips, eyelids, and nose. Numbness is also possible. Taking more than 20 grams of saffron could lead to death.

Pregnant women may miscarry when a large amount of saffron is taken. You should stick to the normal amount found in foods. Even though there is insufficient information about the effects of saffron on breastfeeding, there would be no harm in being cautious.

Since saffron affects one’s mood, it might trigger manic behavior in people with bipolar disorder.

How to take saffron

Saffron can be used to treat depression with 30mg per day. You can also go with 15mg dosages twice a day. Two dosages of 15mg ethanol saffron extract should be enough to treat premenstrual syndrome. Meanwhile, menstrual discomfort may require 500mg of a combination of saffron, anise, and celery seed extracts. This combination needs to be taken thrice a day only for the first three days of menstruation. Thirty milligrams of saffron products can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.


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