What is Saffron?
Saffron is prescribed as an herbal remedy to stimulate the digestive system, ease colic and stomach discomfort, and minimize gas. It is also used as an emmenagogue, to stimulate and promote menstrual flow in women.
Saffron is harvested by drying the orange stigma of the Crocus sativus flower over fire. Over 200,000 crocus stigmas must be harvested to produce one pound of saffron. This volume makes the herb extremely expensive.
Saffron should be used sparingly and when used in larger amounts tends to make dishes bitter. It’s frequently made into a tea using milk or water before adding to a dish.
For medicinal purposes, saffron can be taken by mouth in powder, tincture, or liquid form. To make a liquid saffron decoction, mix 6–10 stigmas or strands of saffron in one cup of cold water, bring the mixture to a boil, and then let it simmer.
The saffron is then strained out of the decoction, which can be drunk either hot or cold. An average recommended dose of saffron decoction is 1/2–1 cup daily.
Saffron should be stored in an airtight container in a cool location away from bright light to maintain its potency. The herb can be frozen. Properly stored saffron can be used for up to two years.