Known to Ayurveda as Kunkuma, saffron is fabled for its beautiful colour, delicious taste and powerful medicinal properties. So-called saffron 'threads' consist of the style and stigma of the Autumn Crocus. Saffron's high price is due to the fact that it is an extremely labour-intensive crop, since styles and stigmas must be handpicked each morning. Saffron gets its yellow colour from crocin, and its aroma from safranal. It is a powerful source of antoxidants and a wonderful rejuvenative. As a spice it is used in many cuisines, notably Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern and North African.
- Sexual debility: 1 cup hot milk at bedtime with a pinch of saffron (works best if you soak the saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk).
- Low ojas, sexual debility: Fry 4-5 almonds in ghee. Add a pinch of saffron and a cup of hot milk and blend until smooth. Drink at bedtime.
- Poor sleep: 1 cup hot milk at bedtime with a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of saffron (works best if you soak the saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk).
- Cough and asthma: Mix 1 pinch saffron, ½ tsp. trikatu and 1 tsp. honey. Eat this mixture 2-3 times daily.
- Haemorroids: Take 1pinch saffron, ¼ tsp. triphala and 1Tbsp aloe vera 2x daily.
- Poor memory, mild cognitive impairment: Saffron brahmi milk--Soak 1 pinch saffron in a little hot water for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile bring 1 cup milk to the boil and add 1 tsp brahmi (gotu kola). Let steep for 10 minutes and strain. Now and add the saffron and its soak water to the milk. Drink this preparation at bedtime.
- For conjunctivitis or burning eyes: Soak a pinch of saffron in ¼ cup water for 20 minutes. Now take 10 drops of this saffron water and 10 drops rosewater and dilute in half an ounce of distilled water. Put 2 drops in each eye. (Saffron water can be stored in the refrigerator in a screw top glass jar for a few days).
- Third trimester of pregnancy: Soak 2-3 threads of saffron in boiling milk. Cool until drinkable and consume at bedtime.
- Wound healing: Apply saffron paste to the wound.
- Stomatitis, glossitis:Massage the gums with saffron to reduce soreness and inflammation of the mouth and the tongue.
- Headache: Mix saffron paste with 5 drops sandalwood oil mixture and apply on the forehead.
Compiled from various sources including http://www.ayurhelp.com/articles/ayurveda-description-kumkuma-saffron-crocus-sativus and Ayurvedic cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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