Saffron tea has been enjoyed for centuries in different parts of the world for its unique flavor and aroma, as well as its reputed health benefits. Made from the dried stigmas of the crocus flower, saffron is one of the most expensive and sought-after spices in the world, prized for its rich color, fragrance, and taste.
But beyond its culinary uses, saffron has been studied for its potential therapeutic properties, especially in the areas of mood, memory, and menstrual health. In this article, we’ll explore some of the health benefits of saffron tea and how to make and consume it for maximum effect.
What is saffron tea?
Saffron tea is a hot beverage made by steeping saffron threads in hot water or milk, sometimes with additional spices or sweeteners. Saffron is typically harvested by hand from the Crocus sativus plant, which requires special climatic and soil conditions to thrive. It takes thousands of flowers to produce just a few grams of saffron, which explains its high price tag.
To make saffron tea, you’ll need a few saffron threads (about 10-20 per cup), hot water or milk, and a tea infuser or strainer. Simply add the saffron threads to the hot liquid and let them steep for 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired strength. You can also add other ingredients like honey, cinnamon, or ginger to enhance the flavor and health benefits.
Health benefits of saffron tea
1. Reducing depression and anxiety symptoms Several studies have suggested that saffron may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, possibly by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that saffron extract was as effective as the antidepressant fluoxetine in reducing symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression in adults.
2. Improving mood and well-being In addition to its antidepressant effects, saffron has been shown to enhance mood and promote feelings of relaxation and happiness. One study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that saffron supplementation for six weeks significantly improved the mood and quality of life of people with major depressive disorder.
3. Boosting brain function and memory Saffron may also have cognitive-enhancing properties, according to some studies. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that saffron supplementation improved cognitive function and memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
4. Relieving menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms Saffron has been traditionally used in some cultures to alleviate menstrual cramps and other premenstrual symptoms, and there is some evidence to support its effectiveness. One study published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that saffron capsules reduced the severity of menstrual pain and improved quality of life in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
5. Promoting weight loss and regulating appetite Saffron may also help with weight management by reducing appetite and cravings. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the Nutrition Research journal found that saffron supplementation reduced snacking and increased satiety in overweight women.
6. Enhancing digestion and reducing inflammation Saffron has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may benefit digestive health and reduce inflammation in the body. One study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal found that saffron supplementation reduced levels of inflammatory markers in people with metabolic syndrome.
How to prepare and consume saffron tea
To make a flavorful and effective saffron tea, it’s important to use high-quality saffron threads and follow some simple tips: