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 an 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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