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Kesar (Saffron): Benefits, Uses & Home Remedies
Aug 12, 2021
What is Saffron?
Kesar or Saffron is a spice extracted from a flower called Crocus sativus. Saffron is largely cultivated and harvested by hand and it takes about 75000 flowers to make 450g of Kesar.
The farmers harvest the delicate threads from each flower by hand. Which is then heated and cured to bring out the flavor of the saffron. Due to the amount of labor that goes into harvesting, saffron is one of the world's most expensive spices.
What is Kesar (Saffron) used for?
According to research, saffron can be used to effectively treat a number of different health conditions. It contains vitamins like A, C and vitamin B-6. It is rich in various different minerals and contains fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-3. It has antioxidant, antispasmodic, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural aphrodisiac.
Can Kesar help Increase Immunity?
The answer is YES! Saffron might help in boosting immunity as it contains certain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory components that improve metabolism. This in turn helps fight against various disorders and infections.
According to ayurveda, saffron (kesar) has Rasayan property (rejuvenating) as a result, it works as a good immunity booster. It helps the body to fight back infections that occur due to seasonal changes.
Health Benefits of Saffron
Improves Heart Health
Kesar has antioxidant properties that help maintain the arteries and blood vessels of the heart. It contains a vitamin called riboflavin, which is essential for maintaining heart health. Kesar can also lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Promotes Brain Health
Kesar has been known to improve brain health by solving learning and memory problems. The crocetin and ethanol compounds found in kesar also act as antidepressants. A daily intake of Kesar can improve mood and help treat insomnia naturally.
Kesar or saffron helps prevent macular degeneration (blurred or reduced central vision) which is a common eye disorder among people over the age of 50. Kesar is also known to prevent vision loss and retinal degeneration, thereby improving retinal function.
Fights against Cancer-Causing Cells
Kesar acts as an anticancer drug and helps fight skin cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and most other types of cancer. The crocin compound in Kesar promotes anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the growth of enzymes active in cancer cells.
Benefits of Kesar for Skin
Hyperpigmentation is developed due to scarring, sun exposure, or hormonal changes. Kesar or saffron’s active compounds, like crocin, can decrease melanin which is another reason responsible for hyperpigmentation.
Helps heal wounds
A study showed that a cream with saffron extract (kesar) increased the growth of skin cells, which is necessary to close wounds. Kesar stimulates wound healing by promoting cell multiplication.
Makes Skin Radiant
Kesar has anti-inflammatory properties that keep impurities away, making the skin soft and supple. Studies have also shown that crocin can prevent ultraviolet A rays (UVA), which can cause premature aging.
How to use Kesar for Skin
For Kesar Face Mask
Grind 3 saffron roots in a mortar and mix with 1 tablespoon. Honey, then apply the mixture on the skin. Rinse and dry after 10 minutes.
Mix kesar in milk or lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the paste and leave it on for 10–15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
For Kesar Gel
Crush 4 or 5 saffron strands in a mortar and mix with 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel and rose water each. Apply a small amount to the skin and massage until fully absorbed.
For Kesar Toner
Soak a few strands of kesar in rose-water and apply on the face after cleansing and scrubbing, to make the skin look toned and firm.
Benefits of Kesar for Hair
Kesar (saffron) might be an effective ingredient for controlling baldness as it is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants.
According to ancient ayurveda, saffron has Vata balancing properties and helps improve hair growth by controlling excessive dryness.
A simple way to do this is by mixing saffron, milk and liquorice (also known as licorice) and applying it on the scalp. This also helps in stimulating hair growth.
5 Simple Ways to Identify Real/Pure Saffron
As mentioned above, each autumn crocus flower produces only about 3 stigmas. These stigmas are removed from the flowers by hand and then dried to make kesar. Since a lot of work goes into harvesting it, Kesar is one of the most expensive spices.
So if the price of Kesar is surprisingly less expensive than normal, you know it’s not the real one.
Pure Saffron threads will not break apart when you rub it between your fingers, whereas fake saffron will fall apart or turn to dust or liquid.
Mix saffron and baking soda in a small container filled with water. After a few minutes, if the mixture turns reddish, then it is not real kesar. If the mixture turns yellow then, you are looking at an example of pure saffron.
A general rule of thumb is - Saffron (kesar) should smell sweetish, but never taste sweet!
Simple and Easy Recipe using Kesar
Saffron is used in a variety of cuisines, such as Indian and Mughlaii cuisines. A single strand of saffron has the ability to improve the taste and aroma of any delicacy.
Kesar Milk (Badam Kesar Doodh)
Haldi doodh has a special place in the hearts of all Indians and is a go-to beverage for all immunity and nutritious needs. But did you know that kesar doodh is also packed with several health benefits?
It helps protect against colds, promotes memory retention, relieves menstrual cramps, helps treat insomnia and is good For heart. It may also help treat asthma and allergies.
Soak ½ cup of almonds in boiling water for 30 minutes. After half an hour, drain the water.
Make a fine paste by grinding the almonds with a cup of milk.
In a pan, mix the almond paste, ½ tbsp kesar strands, 4 tbsp honey and a pinch of cardamom powder with 2.5 cups of milk.
Simmer the flame for about 20 minutes, and bring it to a boil.
Pour in a glass and drink it warm or cool and chill it if you prefer it cold.
How to Store Kesar (Saffron)
The best way to store Saffron is to place it in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place, preferably at room temperature. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator as it tends to absorb moisture when taken out and kept at room temperature for use.
If stored properly in an airtight container, saffron threads can last for up to three to five years.