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| Medical Uses of Saffron |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Saied Kianbakht
Posted on: June 29, 2003
I would like to know about the medical uses of saffron (Crocus sativus).
The world’s most expensive spice is, of course, well known for its virtues in the kitchen: in spanish paella and in rice and in many other dishes. But it does have little known medicinal uses as well. It has anodyne, sedative and antispasmodic properties, and is considered have appetizer, emmenagogue, and expectorant properties. The Spanish may well know that it also has aphrodisiac properties!
But John Lust writes in "The Herb Book" that saffron is used in small doses only because in large doses it is poisonous for the central nervous system and it can damage the kidneys. According to Lust, 10-12 grams of saffron is a fatal dose for humans. But in small doses it has been used to treat coughs, whooping cough, gastrointenstinal bloating, colic and insomnia. Fortunately the high cost of saffron generally prevents its overuse in amounts that are poisonous.