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:
- Itch cream
- Scar removal cream
- 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
- Carbohydrates – 1.37 grams
- Fat – 0.12 grams
- Proteins – 0.24 grams
- Vitamin C – 1.7 mg
- Vitamin B9 – .002 ug
- Vitamin B6 – 0.02 mg
- Vitamin B3 – 0.03 mg
- Vitamin B2 – 0.01 mg
- Iron – 0.23 mg
- Manganese – 0.6 mg
- Magnesium – 6 mg
- Copper – 0.01 mg
- Phosphorous – 5 mg
- 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.
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 is accountable for the bitter taste of saffron which is a Monoterpene aldehyde with no color pigmentation property
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
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disorders
- Cosmetics (to delay aging effects on the body)