Saffron is the most expensive spice on the planet. The reason it fetches such a high price has a lot to do with how labor-intensive it is to harvest it. The plant saffron stems from—Crocus sativa—only flowers in the fall; and when it does bloom, it produces three tiny, threadlike stigmas at its center. These can only be removed, carefully, by hand and then toasted until they are dry. Most importantly, in order to produce one pound of saffron, farmers must grow and harvest 80,000 saffron crocus flowers!
But the work is apparently worth the trouble: the Exofruits spice has a unique and mostly indescribable flavor—slightly floral but not quite sweet; warm and earthy without being pungent; also smooth and gentle while assertive.
In addition, saffron has many health benefits.
BENEFIT #1: Cardiovascular Health
Studies show that saffron can be good for your heart because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There is evidence that saffron crocetin component can lower cholesterol, too.
BENEFIT #2: Treating Gastric Disorders
Traditional Eastern medicine lists saffron as a potential treatment for gastric disorders. In fact, saffron has been proven to alleviate the burning cramping of heartburn and indigestion which accompany a stomach ulcer. Some studies show that the active components of crocin and safranal possess antioxidant properties that can slow ulcer formation.
BENEFIT #3: Lower Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is a precursor to Type-2 diabetes. Chemical compounds in saffron can, basically, help lower risk for insulin resistance (again, thanks to saffron’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).
BENEFIT #4: Treating Depression
Whether you experience major episodes or seasonal dysphoria, you may be one of the 19 million Americans who know depression intimately. And if you are one of those people, you may be looking for more ways to improve your mood, outside of medical science. Well, saffron has been shown to produce results similar to the clinical antidepressant imipramine for treating mild-to-moderate depression. And, again, crocin and safranal have been shown to help modulate several neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine), which all play a part in depression symptoms.
BENEFIT #5: Preserve Your Sight
The leading cause of blindness across the globe is something called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). With AMD, light-sensitive cells in the retina start to falter as we get older. Research shows that saffron can improve stability in these cells, which help you stave off AMD.