Saffron is one of the most precious spices in the world. It is expensive because it is an extremely labour-intensive crop and requires lot of hard work. Saffron is derived from the flower of crocus sativus, commonly called as ‘Saffron crocus’. Each flower has three tiny, crimson threadlike stigmas in the center. These threads are collected and dried for use mainly as a colouring agent in food. Pampore, known as pampur (Kashmiri pronunciation) is famous for its saffron, that is why Pampur is called saffron town of Kashmir. It was also calld “Souni Pampar” by Sheikh ul-Alam which means “Golden Pampore” . Saffron has lot of impressive health benefits and recent studies have shown that it can help in boosting immune system. Research undertaken by agriculture scientists have shown that Saffron can help in dealing with many complications that are associated with COVID-19.
Saffron has lot of other advantages also as a tiny structure but with tremendous effects. Let us look at some of the merits of saffron:-
It is a powerful antioxidant. Due to its antioxidant properties, anti-flammatory,and anti-carcino-genic effects, Saffron is used as an agent in the medicine for treating various diseases. It has anti-cancer and wound curative characteristics. It may reduce appetite and aid weight loss also. The stigmas, and sometimes the petals, are used to make medicine. People use saffron most commonly for depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease etc. Kashmir is known for its beauty which attracts many tourists worldwide and Saffron is one of the factor which adds to its elegance. Pampore a town on Srinagar-Jammu highway is blessed with such a precious crop. Seeing people getting healthy because of such a tiny crop, People in winter mostly drink kehwa, saffron tea. Kashmir is known for tourism. People who visit Kashmir during winters like to have” kehwa”. It has a great aroma. By adding a few strands of saffron in hot water with Other spices, the colour of saffron tea is catchy which everyone wants to have, It has a mild fragrance. Now it has become a trend, tourists who visit Kashmir in winter’s make sure to have kehwa so that they can taste the saffron tea of Kashmir. They usually buy saffron as they also use it in various religious ceremonies. Saffron kehwa is rich in vitamin B12 and aids in immunity building and keeping the body’s defense mechanism in check.
As already mentioned it is rich in anti-oxidants, it is a great stress buster and helps to improve one’s metabolism. It is a great remedy for cold and cough especially during winter and improves skin health. Kashmir is known for beauty, wazwaan and saffron (kehwa,saffron tea). Saffron, commonly called as Kesar or Kong in Kashmiri. Once the flowers are harvested, these stigmas should be plucked and dried for approximately 12 hours. This is how a flavorful Kesar is produced. Saffron -the world’s costliest spice-can be used as a treatment for Covid. Saffron can play a role in fighting disease like Bronchitis and Asthma.”During the post-covid phase, 30 to 40% of people discharged from hospitals are suffering from depression. They usually suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness due to Port Truamatic stress disorder (PTSD).Saffron can be used in such conditions. The efficacy of saffron in depression management is comparable with drugs like fluoxetine, imipramine,citalopram.Saffron is used to reduce stress and anxiety during prolonged lockdown, isolation and quarantine.”(Heliyon, Amjad M Hussaini). Saffron helps in improving the immune system. It is an immunomodulator which means it improves immunity. People who are covid patients have a weak immune system; a pinch of saffron can help them in improving their immune system. Saffron can also help with the respiratory complications associated with covid-19, due to its ability to inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokinesis, decrease coughing because of the anesthetic effect it can have on the behalf nerves of the alveoli. crocetin, which is a compound of saffron ,has been found to increase the speed of oxygen transport which can be useful for covid-19.There is also an antiviral benefit to using saffron compounds. Crocin and picrocrocin were found to show antiviral effects, effectively inhibiting viral entry and replication. Thus, a cup of kehwa or a strand of saffron can be helpful in fighting the virus and boosting the immune system.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are exclusively his own)