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Saffron

Crocus sativas
 

Saffron

 

Description: The world's most costly spice, saffron is the individual stigmas, deep red thread-like fibers, from the flower of this perennial Mediterranean plant. It takes some 150,000 flowers and 400 hours of labor to produce 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of dried saffron.

 

Saffron has been prized as a colorant and food flavoring ingredient for at least 4000 years. Following the Crusades in the 11th century, it began being widely cultivated in the Middle East and Europe.

 

In ancient Arabia saffron was used for ceremonies of birth, weddings and death.

Family: Iridaceae

Synonyms: saffron crocus, fan hong hua

Origin: Mediterranean region; now grown mainly in Iran, Spain, Kashmir, Turkey and Azerbaijan

Parts Used: styles (stigmas)

Aroma Description: warm, intensely sweet, sensuous, spicy, floral, slight herbaceous undertone

Emotional Attributes: sensuous, love, happiness, strengthening

Cosmetic Uses: used as a dye for hair, nails, etc.

Culinary Uses: used as a flavoring and colorant for liqueurs, cakes, cookies, puddings, sweetmeats, sauces, fish stews, rice dishes (i.e. Spanish Paella, Italian Risotto Milanese and India's Biryani), etc.

Medicinal Attributes: pungent, bitter-sweet herb that improves digestion, increases perspiration, stimulates circulation and menstruation, reduces high blood pressure. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat stagnant liver energy, depression and menstrual disorders.

*Warning: Avoid if pregnant*

Element Association: Fire

Magical Associations:  healing, awareness

Astrological Association: Taurus, Leo, Libra

Planetary Association: Moon, Venus, Mars

Season: Summer

Aromatic Note: Middle to Top note

Essential Oil: Not commercially available, a tincture can be made using saffron threads soaked in diluted alcohol.

*Warning: Avoid if pregnant*

Mixes Well With: aloeswood, benzoin, cassia, cinnamon, cloves, dammar, frankincense, ginger, labdanum, musk seeds, rose, sandalwood, sandarac, etc.

Medical Disclaimer: Information on this web site is for entertainment purposes only. This information is NOT intended as medical advice or for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.

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