Definition of Saffron

Saffron: An extremely costly yellow spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). Saffron has long been used in cooking and was once a treatment for a long list of diseases. It was used in medicine at least 3,500 years ago, as evidenced by frescoes found on the Aegean island of Thera, depicting a goddess presumably overseeing the milling of spice or perfume. The pediatric cardiologist and medical historian Gordon Bendersky together with Susan C. Ferrence concluded that the scene showed a drug being made from the saffron flower. More recently, saffron extract has been described by some as an effective natural weight-loss aid that can help curb hunger and emotional eating. Sound scientific evidence, however, is lacking to support this claim.


Last Editorial Review: 3/5/2012

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