Herbs were once eaten as a food source until one day perhaps it was discovered that the person consuming the spice “felt” different. So before there were any know medications, there were herbs. In fact, today many people are trying to include natural and holistic things into their diets in a hope to improve their overall health.
I have many inquiries into questions about herbs and tea. Saffron itself continually comes up. Here’s a bit about Saffron: Saffron is normally used as a culinary spice. It often can be found in the foods of Asia, Indian, and the Mediterranean to name just a few.
But back in those ancient times, several thousand years ago, countries like Rome, Egypt, and Greece were using Saffron as medicine. They treasured their qualities. Saffron comes from the Iris family & the Crocus flower. The flower head is picked and then the red stigma is then extracted and that is the useable part of the flower. Each flower contains three red stigmas.
Harvesting the Saffron plant parts is extremely labor intensive. It is painstakingly done to this day by hand. The “filaments” or “threads” are collected to be readied to dry. Some 75,000 stigmas must be collected to gain just one pound of export Saffron! This then makes the market price of this herb soar. In fact, Saffron is considered the most costly marketed herb on this planet! Price estimates at the time of this writing put the herb at anywhere from $5.00 to upwards of $5,000.00 per pound!
Because this herb is so costly, often times inferior product is made available or unreputable dealers will mix or “cut” the Saffron with other products or flowers. Most likely it is not the intention to harm, it is the intention to mislead, and therefore, available flowers are used such as the common marigold. By doing this, it can create a scary concoction for some.
Regular Saffron has been studied chemically and it is known that pure Saffron may contain up to 150 compounds such as B2, crocin, picicrocin, and saffranal to name some of them. Recently testing in many countries have been or are under way. Some do think that Saffron lessens the illness associated with chemotherapy, anxiety reduction, supporting eyesight, treatments for Alzheimer’s for use with memory and cognitive application. But at this point nothing has been proven, and it has never ever been tested on children or pregnant or nursing women.
Some are touting Saffron tea as the next big medical breakthrough. At this point, soaking the bitter-tasting dried Saffron threads in hot water for 20 minutes will release compounds. But please beware; it is extremely important that you discuss the use of Saffron or Saffron “tea” with your doctor!
Herbs can and often do cause some type of reactions to many of the standard medicines that most people are on. Please heed the warnings regarding Saffron and herbs in general.
It appears that while one wants to make tea out of everything doesn’t mean that one should!
Have a wonderful cuppa tea, just mind your herbs if you will!