Saffron is a famous spice used by cooks from many countries of the world. Its production is complex and costly: the multicolored stigmas of delicate crocus flowers are collected only by hand, dried in a special way, after which they take the form of thin fragrant threads. The collection is carried out in sunny, dry weather and only in the morning - from 10 to 11 hours. Since this method of production is extremely laborious and complex, this spice is one of the most expensive in the world.
The delicate, magnificent aroma of saffron, as well as its pronounced healing properties are familiar to people from deep antiquity. In addition, it is actively used in cosmetology to improve the condition of the skin and hair. So there is talk about anything. So we discuss the saffron plant, beneficial properties and contraindications, recipes for its use not only as a fragrant spice today.
The rich saffron essential oil is famous not only for the fact that it can completely replace the spice itself as a flavoring. This is one of the strongest oil effects, which, if carelessly applying high concentrations, has a narcotic effect. No other essential oil is used in such minimal dosages and in such limited aromatherapy methods. This is one of the most expensive and rare aroma oils, which is more often used for cosmetic than medical purposes. Saffron oil is considered to be one of the most powerful tools for improving complexion.
Note that in cooking, medicine, only the stigmas (stamens, pistils) of crocuses are used. They have healing properties. Dried stigmas are used to treat various ailments. Although the leaves of the plant also contain a lot of nutrients.
Thin, dried saffron threads contain enough iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, as well as zinc, manganese, copper and selenium. Spice contains vitamins from group B: B1, B2, B3, folic acid (B9). There are vitamins A and C, as well as valuable, healing essential oils.
Plant and production regions
Saffron essential oil is extracted from crocuses, which bloom in the fall, with each flower dissolved for only two days, and the total flowering period is limited to two weeks.
Despite the external similarity, one should not confuse autumn-flowering saffron with spring species of crocuses, including the white-flowered crocus and Geifel saffron. Rare essential oils are also obtained from these plant species, the properties of which partially or completely coincide with the properties of the essential oil from saffron seed. But their use in aromatherapy has not been investigated.
Today, industrial crocus planting is a huge plantation. The main regions of origin of raw materials for the production of saffron essential oil are the main suppliers of spices in the market - Iran and Spain. Saffron is also grown for industrial purposes in China, Tunisia and India, but essential oils of this origin are less common.
Regardless of the place where raw materials grow, the predominantly European countries produce oils, and it is the essential oils produced in France, Germany and Spain that remain the market leaders and are considered the most qualitative.
Marking oil and its varieties
The name Saffron comes from Arabic and means "yellow", directly indicating the main feature of this delicious and unique spice - a very bright dark yellow, rich color that saffron conveys to dishes.
Saffron essential oil can be referred to as crocus seed or saffron seed oil, as well as saffron crocus. International names that are valid for this aroma oil include the wording Saffron crocus, Kuma-kuma, keshar, safran, zaffarano, saffron, azafron, zafferano.
For this oil, it is very important to check the botanical name, since saffron essential oil is often falsified and replaced with other oils with a similar aroma (according to the same principles as the spice itself). For the Latin marking of the plant specific name, only the names Crocus sativus and Crocus officinalis Honck are allowed.
Essential oil falsification
Saffron is considered the most often forged spice, and this is true for its oil. Saffron quality essential oil is a great rarity and a great success.
To increase the volume of oil it is often diluted with base oils or partially similar in smell and similar in color to much cheaper esters. Replacing saffron oil with turmeric or marigold essential oils is not uncommon.
Elite and very valuable saffron oil should be purchased only from proven manufacturers of their own experience, which you trust, and only on specializing in aromatherapy resources. Carefully compare all the information about the oil, including the composition, raw materials and its origin, oil extraction method, the presence of additives and impurities in the oil.
The method of obtaining and features of oil storage
Saffron essential oil is extracted using hand-picked stamens and stigmas of crocus, that is, in fact, from the spice itself. Since the raw material is overvalued and very expensive, the oil obtained from it, the output of which even in the best case does not exceed 1,3%, is also one of the elite essential oils.
Saffron oil is produced today with two different technologies. Steam distillation is considered the base method, although it is increasingly being replaced in the production with more efficient extraction using various solvents.
This oil has a unique composition: up to 70% of its volume is a unique terpene aldehyde safranal, which forms the basis of the fragrance. In addition, carotenoids, picrocrocin (picrocrocin), 1,8-cineole (1,8-cineol) and alpha-pinene (α-pinene) are present in the composition of saffron oil.
Saffron oil is one of the most persistent. Its minimum shelf life is 5 years, while the quality and characteristics of aroma oil are directly affected by compliance with all the manufacturer’s recommendations on storage conditions.
External characteristics and features of the fragrance
The color of the oil depends on the plants themselves and the conditions of their growth. Depending on the color of the stamens and the stigmas of saffron, which can be both light and dark enough within the yellow palette, the color of the oil itself changes. But the intensity of color should remain unchanged. Saffron oil is saturated yellow, only light or dark colors change, but the oil is always golden, very bright, with a pure color with no other shades.
The smell of essential oil as much as possible keeps features of aroma of the spice, and in many respects also opens all difficult nuances inherent in a saffron. The aroma of this ether is very strong, spicy-sweet in nature. The spicy and warm base of the oil is surprisingly delicately complemented by aldehyde-floral, sweetish notes. Herbal overtones lower overtones, reminiscent of base oils.
A characteristic feature of the smell of saffron oil, by which you can verify the authenticity of this ester, is that the oil reveals its aroma and all its features only in low concentration. With direct inhalation from a bottle or when applied to paper and a napkin, the oil scent is almost impossible to disassemble, as it is strong and seems even unpleasantly saturated.
The fullest of all shades of the smell of saffron, thin volatile notes reveals a one percent concentration of this ester, diluted in any base oil with a neutral smell. The aroma of the essential oil of saffron in such a concentration should appear stronger and brighter than the aroma of undiluted oil.
This oil is used as an alternative to spices for culinary purposes, and is also often used internally. This ester is characterized by a very bitter, intense taste, while according to the degree of bitterness no other essential oils can contend with it. Internal reception of oil often causes unpleasant emotions because of this.
Combination with other oils
Saffron oil is distinctive and very strong in its aroma. In blends and perfume compositions, it is well combined only with pure, classic smells with an easily recognizable and delicate character. The best companion oils for him will be violet, rose, lavender, sandalwood, neroli, Himalayan cedar, champa, rosewood and narcissus.
From base oils, saffron essential oil is best combined with almond oil.
Impact on the psycho-emotional sphere
Saffron oil with its intense and spicy aroma is considered one of the most powerful sedatives in the aromatherapy arsenal. The aroma of this oil has a strikingly powerful sedative effect on the nervous system, which even the best coniferous and spicy herbs cannot contend with.
This essential oil should be used with caution and as a one-time remedy to quickly relieve the symptoms of neuralgia, pain in the heart, hysterical seizures, in a state of exacerbation of depressive disorders, as an active sedative tool. The strength of the effect of saffron forces the use of this essential oil only in case of serious problems.
Saffron oil quickly eliminates negative emotions and symptoms of depression, blocks nerve attacks and hysteria, and brings a sense of security, “blessing” and well-being. It seems to attract good luck and drive away depression and adversity.
This is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs, which is used even for serious problems with potency. The nature of saffron oil - warming, healing, active, contributing to the disclosure of their desires and liberation.
Saffron essential oil is characterized by active immunomodulatory, antispasmodic, regulating, activating, stimulating, rejuvenating, carminative properties. This is a high activity oil that is used for serious problems and as an effective prophylactic.
Today, the anti-cancer activity of saffron oil is most actively studied, but the ability of this ether to improve and activate metabolism, exert a visible rejuvenating effect, enhance and strengthen the immune system, regulate the menstrual cycle and eliminate the unpleasant symptoms associated with its disorders are still officially recognized.
Saffron oil is one of the best tools for establishing the menstrual cycle, eliminating premenstrual syndrome, relieving painful symptoms, and normalizing well-being during menopause. It is actively used in the treatment of infertility and impotence, as an aphrodisiac and stimulant.
Also, saffron oil is considered one of the most powerful aromatherapy for the treatment of anemia, normalization of blood circulation.
Its analgesic properties are actively used to treat rheumatism, and antispasmodic and immunomodulating abilities are used in asthma and cough of various etymologies.
This oil is used to relieve local symptoms of hangover and heart pain.
Features of the effect of saffron on the skin completely repeat the nature of its psycho-emotional impact. This is an intense and used in minimal dosage tool that can transform the skin and give it a completely new aesthetics. Despite the fact that the intensive and powerful saffron essential oil has limited cosmetic properties, they are all pronounced and virtually indispensable.
Saffron oil is rightly called one of the best tools for quality improvement and change of complexion. It gives the skin a surprisingly beautiful shade, evens out, hides the imperfections of tone, eliminates blemishes. One of the most valuable properties of saffron is the ability to give the skin a healthy glow, the very effect of internal glow.
But only aesthetic influence of saffron is not limited. This is one of the best protective and prophylactic agents for rosacea, which not only eliminates the vascular pattern, but also strengthens the capillaries, improves the local blood circulation and thereby prevents the return of problems with the capillary pattern.
Recipes for beauty - To refresh dull, tired skin, prepare a mask like this: mix an equal amount of saffron powder, sour cream, liquid honey. Mix well. Lubricate the previously cleansed face. After half an hour wash.
Beauty Recipes - Apply gruel of soaked in warm water on the skin, hold for 20-30 minutes. Then wash it off. This mask will improve the condition of dry, flaky skin. It can also be applied to the scalp with dryness, intense hair loss.
Saffron oil after dilution in the base can be used to flavor food. This oil can reveal the taste of your favorite spice or completely replace it in cold and hot dishes, it is used in baking and for saturating beverages with spicy nuances.
This seasoning is ideally combined with almost any dish, giving the dishes a pleasant aroma, a special taste and a wonderful golden hue. Food with the addition of saffron is better absorbed by the body. Useful properties of spices have the most positive effect on health.
Saffron is popular in almost all areas of culinary production. It is used in the preparation of beverages, mousses, gravies, various creams. Seasoning gives a special taste and color to biscuits, muffins, muffins, etc.
Features of use of oil and precautionary measures
Saffron oil is one of the most powerful and aggressive essential oils. The nature of its effects is rightly called narcotic, and in high concentrations this ester is able to be toxic and disturb consciousness, leading to serious problems with the functioning of the body. This oil is used extremely carefully and in minimal concentrations, only as a powerful additional tool that can qualitatively change the effect of other oils.
This oil can not be used in quantities exceeding three drops during the day, while it is better to be completely limited to a maximum of 1-2 drops per day. The concentration of this oil, permissible for use, is 0.05% relative to base oils and main products. It is impossible to exceed the indicated concentration even when using saffron oil as an alternative to spice.
Saffron essential oil has no serious contraindications, except for the ban on use during pregnancy. Narcotic effects, active hormonal changes and regulation of the reproductive system, as well as the abortive effect on the uterus, make it necessary to limit any contact with oil during the entire gestation period, including the use of aromatics for rooms.
Methods of use and dosage
Techniques for using saffron oil are also limited to selected aromatherapy methods. This essential oil should not be used thoughtlessly, in flavoring premises (with the exception of isolated cases prescribed by the attending physician), in the methods of inhalation and classical methods of aromatherapy with the exception of the following methods:
• as a seasoning for food in a concentration of 1 to 200 when pre-diluted in vegetable oil before use;
• to improve the massage oil in a concentration of not more than 0.05% relative to the base;
• for lotions and rubbing with rheumatism in the amount of 1-2 drops per half teaspoon of base oil:
• in aroma baths with obligatory dilution, first in vegetable oil, and then in emulsifier in an amount of 1 to 4 drops.
The use of saffron in traditional medicine
- A wonderful tonic, anti-depressant remedy - water infusion of saffron: pour a pinch (about 1 tsp) of threads with a glass of boiling water. To enhance the therapeutic effects, add a pinch of ginger root powder and black pepper powder on the tip of the knife. Cover the dishes with the infusion with a saucer, wrap with a towel. Leave for half an hour. Strain through a gauze cloth, drink a sip throughout the day.
- To normalize sleep, eliminate insomnia, and improve the condition of the nervous system, use saffron oil, which you can freely buy at the pharmacy.
- To enhance the immune system, improve overall health, add a couple of pinches of seasoning to the usual tea brew. Then brew as usual. If you add a little milk to a hot drink, you get an excellent means of improving memory, activating the brain.
- You can use this spice for complex treatment of the liver. To do this, grind dry stigmas to a state of powder. After each meal, eat 0.5-1 teaspoon of powder. You can drink a small amount of liquid.
- Renal disease is also treated with saffron. To this end, grind the dried spice to a powder. Mix 2 tablespoons and a half cup of lightly warmed, liquid honey. Stir well. Take a spoon (tea) before the morning and evening meals.
In case of eye diseases, after consulting with your doctor, you can also use the beneficial properties of saffron: mix powdered dried yarn with pink water (you will find the recipe of this preparation on our website). Respect the proportion of 1: 1. Leave until swelling.
Distribute the resulting gruel on cotton pads that attach to the eyes. Lie for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse eyes with cool water. Gruel can also wipe the eyes and then rinse with water.
It is believed that these recipes are very effective in many eye diseases.
Conclusion the beneficial properties of saffron
Spice has many valuable qualities. For example, its antispasmodic, diaphoretic, carminative properties are known. Thanks to them, ancient healers used saffron to treat diseases of the intestines, eliminating pain in the abdomen.
Modern connoisseurs of traditional medicine to the present use it as a painkiller, antiseptic, fortifying agent. Applied as a natural, natural diaphoretic and diuretic. Saffron-based medications improve the functioning of the digestive system. Infusion of dried stigmas effectively cleanses the skin from various rashes and pigmentation.
This spice helps to clean the blood, relieves pain during migraine, relieves asthma attacks. It contributes to the normalization, activation of the brain, helps to preserve old memory, clear mind.
In addition, funds on the basis of dried filaments are taken in the complex treatment of the urogenital system, kidneys, and bladder. Accepted for the normalization of the menstrual cycle, used in the treatment of infertility.
Essential oil contains a very strong antioxidant, which has a detrimental effect on cancer. Its anticonvulsant, tonic, antidepressant properties are also known.
Some time ago, scientists discovered a new important property of saffron - the funds from it help to fight against diseases of the organs of vision.
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