By Arnold Synder: 

Saffron is a plant that has been used in cooking, perfumery and dyeing textiles for millennia. It is regarded as one of the world's most expensive spices by weight. They are pricey mainly because of the significant amount of labor that harvesting saffron threads entail. Saffron's curative properties are plentiful and much talked about since ancient times. Saffron extract is sold in dietary supplement form.

Medicinal uses of Saffron

Depression

Research indicates that sufferers of major depression feel improvements in symptoms after taking particular saffron extracts for 6-8 weeks. Some studies also demonstrate that saffron extract might be beneficial as taking a low-dose prescribed antidepressant. Drinking saffron tea is also believed to regulate mood.

Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual discomfort

Many research studies suggest that consuming saffron considerably improves symptoms of PMS after a couple of menstrual cycles. Supplements containing saffron, anise and celery seed also exhibit the ability to decrease the severity and duration of menses.

Suppress cancer

Early research suggests that carotenoids present in saffron have cancer-suppressing, mutation-preventing, immune-boosting effects.

Anti-aging

Saffron is known to be a potent antioxidant, and thus it can help you avoid premature aging of cells by scavenging and neutralizing free radicals.

Fat reduction

It is also used as a weight loss aid. Saffron extract is said to help reduce cravings. Some advocates also are convinced that saffron helps boost brain levels of serotonin, a chemical known to control mood, which in turn can help prevent compulsive overeating.

Eye care

Research studies demonstrate that saffron improves vision and is considered to be an effectual preventive solution against the most common cause of blindness among old people - macular degeneration.

How does saffron extract work?

It is still uncertain how saffron exerts its medicinal benefits. Safranal, which is an organic compound isolated from saffron, is an excellent anticonvulsant agent and has also been shown to have antidepressant properties. This compound is also cytotoxic to malignant cells. It also shows high antioxidant activity. Crocin, another carotenoid chompound seen in saffron, is a potent antioxidant and exhibits anti-cancer properties, too.

Safety concerns

Saffron seems safe to use when taken as recommended. Some probable side effects include nervousness, changes in appetite, and hypersensitive reactions. You shouldn't use this supplement if you are an expectant or breastfeeding mother. Sufferers of bipolar disorder should refrain from using supplements made up of this plant extract as well.
Where to purchase it

Saffron supplements can be found online or in numerous natural-food stores.

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