Some of the health benefits of saffron for your baby can include protection of digestive system and liver, can help protect eyes, can strengthen bones, offers relief from respiratory disturbances, can provide relief from fever, is good for oral hygiene and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Saffron is a spice that is used to provide food with aroma. It grows as a plant called crocus sativus and each plant contains seventy five thousand blossoms that look like a thin thread. These blossoms are dried and used as spice all over the world. It is cultivated in Greece, South-west Asia, North America, North America and Oceania.
Saffron is a very expensive spice and, other than being used in food for flavoring, it is used in the preparation of traditional medicines. Because of its medicinal properties, it has been used as a remedy against asthma, whooping cough, insomnia, haemoptysis, depression, cancer, heartburn, pain, shock, spitting, Alzheimer’s disease, cramps, infertility, PMS and dry skin. Some people also use saffron for curing baldness.
Source: Iran Daily
Various studies on Saffron
Various studies have been conducted on saffron to test its capabilities. One such study, as stated by the renowned website mercola.com, on examining its potential in reducing tumors showed that its topical application can restrict up till the second stage of skin cancer. When taken orally, saffron can cease the growth of tumor cells in mice. These studies have shown that saffron can really be helpful in reducing side effects caused by cancer-fighting drugs and can prevent kidney from damage.
Another study mentioned by mercola.com found saffron is highly useful in aluminium-induced symptoms like neurological ailments, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Saffron intake releases lipid peroxide that helps in reducing diseases in the body and destroys free radicals. The study, hence, proved that saffron is neuro-protective in nature and can be used for neurological-related problems.
Constituents of Saffron
It is very important to understand that saffron cannot be eaten in large quantity in one go. All recipes containing saffron include only half teaspoon of the spice. However, that half a teaspoon contains large amount of minerals and vitamins that are of great significance to health. Half a teaspoon of saffron contains 38% Vitamin C, 17% Iron, 18% Magnesium, 14 % each of Vitamin B6 and Potassium.
Each of these vitamins and minerals has its own health advantages. For instance, manganese regulates blood sugar and aids in the absorption of calcium; Vitamin C fights infections and purifies the blood; Vitamin B6 promotes growth of red blood cells; and potassium ensures fluids remain balanced in cells. It also helps in the formation of bones, tissues and hormones in the body and reduces muscle cramps.
Moreover, saffron contains more than 150 useful compounds like crocin, picrocrocin and carotenoids that give it strong taste, beautiful fragrance, intense colour and medicinal qualities. It protects against free radical damage because of presence of antioxidants.
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Health Benefits of Saffron in your Baby’s Diet
Saffron is known to have special properties that can give your baby enormous health benefits. Here are some medicinal properties of Saffron that can boost up the wellbeing of your angel, if taken daily in small quantity:
Saffron works wonders as hepatic deobstruent and liver tonic. It can clear liver obstructions. Gastric problems in babies are a normal feature. Saffron works as a gastric tonic and helps in better digestion owing to its astringent properties. It clears toxins from the stomach.
Saffron is known to be an exhilarant and creates a sense of happiness, according to Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health Care, Inc, a non-profit organization based in Oregon, U.S. That is the reason why it is given to cranky babies. When mixed in milk and fed to babies, saffron can help restless babies by making their spirits high and inducing a feeling of calm and happiness.
Can protect eyes:
Saffron can be given to babies for better eyesight. Saffron is used to prepare a special formulation known as collyrium. According to a study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Islamic Traditional Medicine used collyrium or kohl to treat various ophthalmic disorders. It can cure cataract, conjunctivitis and can improve eyesight. Retina blood flow increases tremendously because of crecetin and crocin that saffron contains. Its regular use can help in protecting retinal damage, prevent macular degeneration and can even protect against tunicamycin. All in all, saffron is full of compounds that help in better sight and hence, is given to babies.
Helps in strengthening bones:
Saffron helps in building strong bones in babies by boosting the absorption of calcium. That is the reason why a pinch of saffron is mixed in milk and given to babies.
Cough, whooping cough and respiratory issues are common in babies. Saffron is highly useful in getting rid of respiratory problems and improving respiratory function. It can be used as a lung tonic and relaxes and soothes tracheal muscles, according to WebMD website on uses of saffron. Saffron stimulates H1 histaminergic receptors and adrenergic receptors because of which it is used in the treatment of asthma problems and bronchitis. Many children who have asthma in their genes are treated using saffron right from the initial days.
A little cough or cold can cause fever in young ones. In such a situation, saffron can be highly useful as it comprises of crocin that helps in bringing down high temperature.
Gums & Oral Hygiene:
Since babies don’t brush, their mouths need to be cleaned properly to ensure oral hygiene. One can massage the gums of babies with saffron daily which would help not only in keeping the mouth and tongue clean, but would also reduce inflammation and soreness of mouth.
Most of the studies, as mentioned by the NIH, have proven saffron has anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of crocin and crocetin as its main ingredients. It helps in enhancement of antioxidant enzymes because of the presence of phytochemicals. This, in turn, fight oxidative stress and helps reduce inflammation in the body.
Babies do not possess a smooth skin when they are born. Many parents complain of dryness and rashes on their baby’s skin. Saffron can soothe the skin. According to WebMD website, safforn possesses anti-oxidant properties and hence, can be applied as a paste on the baby’s dry skin to clear allergies and dryness.
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Saffron acts as a heart tonic for your child. It is normally used to support cardiovascular functions in babies and help in keeping at bay all kinds of heart related issues even after they grow up to be adults. Saffron contains bioactive components like crocetin and crocin which have anti-atherosclerotic effects on human beings. It controls foam cell formation, thickening of aortic intima and boosts excretion of fecal fat. As a result, it helps in healthy functioning of the heart.
Are There any Side Effects of Saffron?
There is no major visible side effect of saffron, according to WebMD website. It does not cause, in fact, any kind of side effect if consumed regularly for a couple of months. However, if consumed for extended periods of time (more than 6 weeks), it may cause dry mouth, drowsiness, anxiety, headache, loss of appetite and even allergies in some people.
High doses of saffron can be poisonous. When taken in large doses orally, it can cause bleeding from the nose, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, numbness and many more hazardous side effects. As per WebMD, a dose of 12g to 20g of dose can lead to death in most cases.
Precautions & Warnings Against Saffron
- Having large amount of saffron during pregnancy can contract the uterus and may lead to miscarriage.
- Breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor prior to taking saffron orally. Having saffron in milk or other food does not hold any restriction.
- Saffron affects mood and may trigger impulsive behavior in people with bipolar disorder. Hence, it should be avoided by people diagnosed with this mental disorder.
- If you are allergic to olea, olive, lolium or salsola plants, you may have allergies from saffron too.
- People suffering from low blood pressure should not consume saffron as it has the ability to lower blood pressure.
How to use saffron?
Saffron is best used in food to enhance taste and fragrance. It is widely used in countries and regions such as India, the Middle East, Italy, Spain and France in preparations like paella, risotto, biryani, pote gallego and puddings. It can be eaten in food or consumed with milk. Saffron can be applied as a paste on the skin for its skin rejuvenating properties.
How to Choose Saffron?
It is known that saffron is an expensive spice. That is the reason why many fake and adulterated saffron products are available in the market. Many vendors have started adding dye to give their products the color of saffron. Thus, put a pinch of saffron in milk to check if the saffron is pure or not. If it immediately changes color, it means it is not pure. Pure form of saffron takes 10-15 minutes to give deep yellow-orange color to milk and same amount of time is required for its fragrance to linger.
Truth or Myth
Many mothers believe that saffron gives a beautiful complexion to their children. However, saffron has nothing to do with complexion. It does help in the growth of skin cells and providing a smooth skin on topical application but does not affect complexion in any way.