Formulation

To observe health improvements from saffron, doses much higher (30 to 50 mg) than that found in food are required. Today, a number of saffron formulations exist containing doses that have been proven to have a positive outcome. These include:

  1. Itch cream
  2. Scar removal cream
  3. Tablets
  4. Infusion into a tea

The dose of saffron and its active components may vary amongst formulations, or even between different manufacturers of the same preparation. Therefore, the health benefits observed may differ depending on the quality of the plant, the dose in each formulation or the constituents overall

Nutritional Values of Saffron

In one tablespoon of saffron, there are

  1. Carbohydrates – 1.37 grams
  2. Fat – 0.12 grams
  3. Proteins – 0.24 grams

Vitamins

  1. Vitamin C – 1.7 mg
  2. Vitamin B9 – .002 ug
  3. Vitamin B6 – 0.02 mg
  4. Vitamin B3 – 0.03 mg
  5. Vitamin B2 – 0.01 mg

Minerals

  1. Iron – 0.23 mg
  2. Manganese – 0.6 mg
  3. Magnesium – 6 mg
  4. Copper – 0.01 mg
  5. Phosphorous – 5 mg
  6. Potassium – 36 mg

Chemical Composition of Saffron

There are over 150 compounds found in saffron. Of these, the most significant to the mechanism of action, taste, and smell of saffron are crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal.

Saffranal

Safranal is the volatile essence of saffron, responsible for its aroma and flavor. It is produced by the separation of sugar from Picrocrocin and it is identified as saffron’s main aromatic substance. It constitutes about 60% of the volatile elements of saffron. It’s occurrence in fresh saffron appears in a form of non-volatile microcrocin, however with the application of heat and the passing of time, it is decomposed and the volatile aldehyde is released.

Picrocrocin

Picrocrocin is accountable for the bitter taste of saffron which is a Monoterpene aldehyde with no color pigmentation property

Crocin

Crocin is a carotenoid which is saffron’s most dominant metabolite and the premier compound contributing to saffron’s pigmentation. Crocins have a variety of concentrations containing specific formulas. It easily dissolves in water and this solubility property is the reason behind its widespread use as a color providing agent in food and pharmaceutical industries in comparison with other carotenoids. Crocin is the result of the oxidation of a type of carotenoid known as protocrocin. Despite all the common features of saffron’s extracted compounds, some components have exclusively unique properties, like crocin, which means there is more than one mechanism to explain the molecular components of saffron.

Saffron is also an excellent source of Kaempferol, a flavonoid molecule with antioxidant antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. It may also be effective in treating

  1. Type 2 Diabetes
  2. Heart Disorders
  3. Cosmetics (to delay aging effects on the body)