Photo Credit: NationalGeographic
Botanical Qualities of Saffron that you have to know!
What do you know about the qualities of saffron plant? Join the Saffron Express team with this article to review the botanical qualities of this plant.
Different organs of the saffron plant
It is a small, perennial plant, 10 to 30 cm tall.
The saffron bulb is of filled and almost spherical shape, with a diameter of 3 to 5 cm.
It has cream and brown skin
From the middle of the bulb or the base of the bulb’s stem, 6 to 9 narrow leaves are born.
The leaves are usually 1 to 4 cm long; their surface is darker, but they are lighter underneath. The severity of this difference varies from species to species.
From the middle of the leaves, flowering stems emerge, leading to 1 to 3 flowers.
The roots are of the fibrous type. They grow from its outside surface.
The saffron flower is the first organ that appears in early autumn.
Due to the weakness of the bulbs and their maladjustment in the soil, or deep cultivation, flower sprouts may not be able to grow.
The leaves arise later than usual in the first year.
The flower cover consists of 3 purple sepals and 3 purple petals, and it is difficult to distinguish them from each other.
It has 3 stamens; The length of the filaments is twice the length of the anthers.
The gynoecium is located in the center of the flower with an ovary. A thin style comes out of the ovary.
The style is long and stretched and is pale yellow in color. It ends in a red or orange three-branched stigma with a length of 2-3 cm.
The stigma is the most important part of the saffron flower, from which the crocus sativus is obtained and they hold all the qualities of saffron within.
Features of Saffron plant
Crocus sativus is inactive on the ground in the summer and begins to grow in late summer. It is divided into several categories, “whole saffron” has been used for a long time. This type of saffron includes stigma and style. This kind of crocus sativus is also called a saffron batch, or “dokhtarpich” in Persian. Other common groupings for this plant are Sargol or Sarghalam. Also, crocus sativus is graded in letters A, B, and C according to its quality.
This plant has long been used in the art industry, especially in arts such as calligraphy and painting, or in silk carpets with natural colors. This type of paint is world-famous.
This Iranian product has a valuable and durable ink, and even in recent years, this material has been used to make expensive paintings and sculptures.
In the next article, review the role of saffron in art and see some of the artworks created with crocus sativus, along with the Saffron Express team.
Risks, Precautions, and Dosage
Crocus sativus is generally safe with little to no side effects.
In standard cooking amounts, it does not appear to cause adverse effects in humans.
As a dietary supplement, people can safely take up to 1.5 grams, to benefit from qualities of saffron per day. However, only 30 mg of crocus sativus per day have been shown to be enough to reap its health benefits.
On the other hand, high doses of 5 grams or more can have toxic effects and will stop qualities of saffron to apply. Pregnant women should avoid high doses, as it may cause miscarriage.
As with any supplement, speak to your doctor before taking crocus sativus in supplement form.
Another issue with saffron — especially saffron powder — is that it may be adulterated with other ingredients, such as beet, red-dyed silk fibers, turmeric, and paprika. Adulteration cuts cost for manufacturers, as real saffron is expensive to harvest.
Therefore, it’s important to purchase saffron from a reputable brand to ensure you get an authentic product. If the saffron appears too cheap, its best to avoid it.
In normal doses, crocus sativus is generally safe with little to no side effects. Make sure to purchase saffron from a reputable brand or store to avoid an adulterated product.
Crocus sativus is a powerful spice high in antioxidants. It has been linked to health benefits, such as improved mood, libido, and sexual function, as well as reduced PMS symptoms and enhanced weight loss.
Saffron is used for its qualities as a food additive for several centuries. The intraperitoneal LD 50 (Lethal Dose, 50%) values of the stigma and saffron petal are 1.6 and 6 g/kg, respectively, in mice. Nevertheless, it is not toxic when administered orally with an LD 50 greater than 5 g/kg. Although ingestion of less than 1.5 g of crocus sativus is not toxic to humans, it is considered toxic when ingested in doses greater than 5 g and can be fatal if it is taken at about 20 g/day. Slight toxicity with saffron causes dizziness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, whereas more severe toxicity may cause numbness, tingling in the hands and feet and yellowish skin and eyes due to precipitation of yellow pigments on the skin and the conjunctiva. Spontaneous bleeding can also be a symptom.
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