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Health Benefits of Saffron

Understanding Spices

32567997 - safflower herb tea also used in chinese herbal medicine, teapot, cups and strainer on bamboo.

On 11th July 2016, Kate Quilton, presenter of Channel 4’s ‘Superfoods – The Real Story’ extolled the health benefits of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice.

Apparently it is proven to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety and in trials saffron has performed virtually as well as anti-depressant medicines.

Saffron is also reputed to improve memory, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and it’s antioxidant properties can help to fight disease. It is also believed that saffron aids digestion and can help with insomnia. Not only that, a Moroccan spice trader assured Kate Quilton that she would reap noticeable aphrodisiacal benefits from using saffron!

Although mostly familiar as an ingredient of rice dishes and sauces, one of the best ways to consume saffron is to drink it as a tea. As the active compounds in saffron threads are water soluble, the health benefits can be easily obtained by drinking an infusion of saffron that will then be readily absorbed into the bloodstream.

To make a cup of saffron tea, just place a pinch (5 to 10) saffron threads into a cup and add a quarter of a cup of freshly boiled water. Leave this to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes by which time it will have cooled and the active compounds will have been released. Top up with freshly boiled water, strain and sweeten to taste with honey or your preferred sweetener.

For a pot of tea, infuse 4 pinches of saffron threads in a little hot water then add 4 cups of freshly boiled water to the pot. Pour into cups through a tea strainer.

There are many other flavours that you can introduce to your saffron tea such as fresh mint, some ginger, crushed cardamom, lime or simply your favourite teabag.

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