“An orange-yellow flavoring, food coloring, and dye made from the dried stigmas of a crocus” - (Dictionary)
The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow, and it was mentioned as far back as 1500 b.c. in many classical writings, as well as in the Bible.
Saffron is a plant, dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice. It can take 75,000 saffron blossoms to yield a single pound of saffron spice. Saffron is largely cultivated and harvested by hand. The amount of labor involved in harvesting, thus making saffron the world's most expensive spice.
Well! that is a good start to write this post, I thought… But you should continue reading this for several reasons. I promise it will blow your mind...
So what really makes saffron the world's most expensive spice? It's not necessarily its flavor or any health benefits associated with the reddish-yellow spice, although it does lend a distinct, wonderful flavor to all manner of dishes. Rather, it’s the cultivation process.
Saffron is harvested in Spain, Greece, India, Turkey, and a few other countries. It can be sold as saffron threads, or as a ground saffron powder.
Although the majority of the world's saffron is produced in Iran, Spain is the world's largest exporter of saffron.
Saffron: Skin Benefits
Along with its exotic flavor and aroma, saffron holds beauty benefits as well. It has natural skin lightening abilities. Saffron can be helpful for your skin in the following ways:
Saffron for radiant Skin:
• Mix 1 teaspoon of wheat flour, 2 to 3 strands of saffron and 1 spoon of Honey & Milk.
• Mild Scrub your face and wipe with a cloth before applying this face mask.
• Apply it while your face is still wet/moist.
• Massage your skin thoroughly in a circular motion.
• Allow it to dry for 20 minutes and rinse off.
• Apply this Mask once a week for maximum results.
Saffron for Fairer Skin: Want to get naturally fair skin
• Soak a few strands of saffron in milk for 2 hours then add a table spoon of Milk Powder mix well.
• Apply this pack all over your face and neck.
• Wash off after 20 minutes.
• Use this regularly and it will make your skin naturally fair.
Treatment of Acne and Blemishes / Treatment of Dull Skin / Improves Face Texture:
The anti-fungal content of saffron makes it effective for the treatment of acne, blemishes and blackheads.
Drop few strands of saffron into your open streamer or pot full of hot water and let the aroma do its job in penetrating into your skin and pores. ( Please be mindful of hot water and make sure to cover your head and face to maximum benefit)
Saffron for Luminous Complexion:
• Add a few strands of saffron to honey.
• Massage your face with this face pack in a circular motion.
• This will stimulate blood circulation by providing oxygen to your skin.
• Using this face pack regularly will give you a glowing complexion.
Treatment of Dry Skin:
• Mix half table spoon of yogurt with saffron water (few strands soaked in overnight).
• Apply all over face and leave it until dry and wash off.
Saffron Tonner: Saffron can help in toning up your skin. All you need to do is soak saffron strands in rose water and apply it on your skin after scrubbing.
Saffron in Bath Water: Saffron strands can be sprinkled in your warm bath water. Let it soak in the water for 20 minutes. Use this water for your bath. This will lighten your complexion naturally.
Wait....adding a few strands of saffron to your glass of milk/hot water can also give you a glowing complexion.
Expectant mothers are often given milk and saffron so that the fetus in the womb gets a fair and glowing complexion. There is no medical theory behind this though!