Saffron, or kesar, enjoys pride of place in Indian cuisine. You’ll find its hair-thin golden strands strewn across biryanis and barfis, and mixed into faloodas and creams.
In addition to its pungent flavor, saffron is also laden with health benefits, especially for the skin. Let’s take a look at how this miracle spice can give you the complexion you’ve always desired.
More than just flavor
Saffron is widely used in traditional medicine and is also integral to religious rituals. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make it a great candidate for healing wounds. It is also used to soothe symptoms of respiratory ailments like coughs and colds. However, Saffron’s true value shines through when it is used as a herbal remedy for several types of skin-related ailments. The benefits of Kesar for the skin include:
Protection from UV rays: Research has found that saffron can be used as a natural UV absorbing agent. A 4% solution of saffron has a higher SPF value than an 8% solution of homosalate, the key ingredient in most commercially available sunscreens (1).
High in antioxidants: The petals of the saffron flower contain two powerful antioxidants named crocin and kaempferol. Antioxidants are substances that help to slow down damage caused by free radicals to your body. Thus, the benefits of saffron for the skin include slowing down signs of ageing, helping you enjoy supple skin and a youthful complexion for longer.
Can prevent skin cancer: Some research shows that saffron contains nutrients that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells when used topically (3).
Does saffron oil have any benefits?
The uses of saffron on the skin are plentiful, and cosmeticians are also trying to put saffron oil to use. It’s extracted from the stigma of saffron flowers through a technically-advanced process, and is rich in antioxidants, potassium, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. As such, it is considered to be one of the most nutrient-rich essential oils available and can be used to treat acne, improving hair growth and for soothing stress.
How to tell your saffron is pure and authentic
Because of it’s numerous uses and high price, the sellers of saffron are many. However, not all saffron you find in the market is pure. The best way to check the authenticity of your saffron is by placing a few strands of it in cold water. Pure saffron will not release a lot of colour immediately. If the water turns yellow or a deep red quickly, you probably have fake saffron on your hands. Pure saffron smells like a mixture of honey and hay, but also has a slightly bitter taste. If your saffron tastes sweet, it’s also probably fake.
Using saffron on your skin
You can put saffron to use in various ways. The easiest way is by steeping 2-3 strands of saffron in a cup of warm milk. Drinking saffron with milk benefits the skin, and soothe colds and helps you enjoy better sleep.
Another great way to enjoy the benefits of saffron is by adding it to face packs. Mix saffron with Multani Mitti, green tea, gram flour, turmeric, Shweta Chandan and milk powder to make a herbal face pack for glowing skin.
Precautions and side effects
Although the benefits of saffron for the skin are many, make sure you don’t go overboard in your use of the spice. An overconsumption of saffron can lead to a toxic build-up in the blood.
If you’re unable to enjoy the goodness of authentic saffron, you can always turn to supplements to boost your skin health. Setu Skin: Renew is an effective, all-natural supplement that provides wholesome care for your skin. It is fortified with glutathione, an antioxidant that detoxifies your liver and improves skin health. For even more skin help, try adding superfoods to your diet while staying away from foods that are bad for you.
1) Does saffron aid weight loss?
A 2017 study conducted by an Iranian university found that consuming a moderate amount of saffron daily can help one maintain a healthy body weight. (5).
2) Why is saffron so expensive?
Because of the amount of work that goes into picking out stigmas from saffron flowers. For 1 kilogram of saffron, about two lakh flowers have to be plucked and dehydrated, both of which are labour-intensive jobs.
3) How much saffron can I consume daily?
You can safely consume up to 1.5 grams of saffron each day. However, it has been found that as little as 30 mg of saffron can provide health benefits.
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