Compositions of saffron :

Compositions of saffron :


What part of the plant is saffron

The history of saffron goes back to three thousand years ago and the capital of saffron has been named Iran, where more than 90% of saffron supplies the whole world. The saffron flower has 6 purple petals, 3 golden yellow flowers and a red flower which is shown as 3 strands and these three strands become saffron after drying. However, from the stage of harvesting to the processing of saffron itself requires sufficient skill and compliance with the principles related to it, it is worth mentioning that almost all stages of harvesting to packaging of saffron are done by hand, which is a very difficult task for the workers of this industry.


: Table of Contents

Chemical composition of saffron

Properties of saffron compounds

What is the reason for the high price of saffron


Chemical composition of saffron

Phytochemical research has shown that this color is mainly due to the stabilized carotenoid compounds, crocin and crostin, which cause the unique aroma and taste of saffron, and mainly the safranals in saffron also cause its spicy taste.
Research has shown that saffron contains 150 types of aromatic and colored compounds, the yellow color of saffron is primarily due to the presence of crocin in its compounds. Crocin is a carotenoid pigment that may constitute more than 10% of dry saffron. But in high-quality saffron , this substance causes a lot of coloring and aroma in water-based and non-fatty foods such as rice.
Picrocrocins are also the most important composition of saffron, which affect the taste of saffron.
When saffron is dried after harvesting, heat splits the picrocrocin to produce glucose and a free safranal molecule. The second component of saffron perfume is cyclohexadiene, which causes color and fragrance. Chemists found that this compound is the most important factor in creating the aroma of saffron, although its presence is less than that of safranals.
Note: Dry saffron is very sensitive to fluctuations in the pH level and decomposes quickly in the presence of light and oxidizing agents. Therefore, they should be kept in tight and closed containers, but saffron is completely resistant to heat



Compositions of saffron

Crocin is the chemical compound responsible for coloring saffron.
Picrocrocin has a bitter and chemical taste, which is mostly responsible for the taste of saffron.
Safranal is also the main fragrance of saffron.
Lycopene: These carotenoids are also present in tomato compounds.
Beta-carotenes: These carotenoids are also present in carrot compounds.
Z-axanthin: Picrocrocins are an incomplete version of the carotenoid zeaxanthin, produced through oxidative cleavage.

The research conducted at the University of Portland, Oregon, USA, in relation to the detailed analysis of saffron, has shown that this plant relatively has the following compounds

 %Simple sugars   12-15%  9-14 

%Water 11-13 
 Proteins , amino acids, other nitrogen 
 compounds 4-7 % Cellulose (fiber) 
3-8% fiber  : Fats 

1-1.5%:   Minerals (measured as  acid soluble ash) about 40%   : Other non-nitrogen (mainly complex sugars)

Other active elements according to the research of the mentioned university are: essential oil (light oil) about 0.3 to 1.5%; The yellow color is due to crocin and crostin (about 2%); And other carotenes are about 8%, the bitter substances in saffron are also picrocrocin and safranal (the main cause of saffron's pleasant  about 4%
The research conducted by Mr. Khorasani and Mr. Hosseinzadeh at the Pharmaceutical Research Center of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences and other advanced pharmaceutical reviews have shown that more than 150 different compounds containing carbohydrates, polypeptides, fats, water, minerals and vitamins It is available in saffron. The main elements and compounds of saffron, which play a major role in promoting health and treating many disorders, are crocin, crostin, picrocrocin, and safranal, and these compounds are the cause of all the features that have made saffron more practical for use in all industries. As mentioned earlier,The color of saffron is due to crocin and crostin compounds in saffron; Picrocrocin provides flavor and safranal provides aroma

Saffron and the compounds in it have shown many therapeutic properties on different parts of the body, and these properties are presented in summary

Effect on the central nervous system

Safranal, aqueous/ethanol extracts of saffron: anticoagulant
Safranal: effective in improving nervous system disorders 
Saffron extract, crocin, safranal, ethanol extract of saffron stigma: antidepressant
Crocin: protection of the nervous system
Crocin and crostin: anti-Parkinson, anti-Alzheimer, improving and strengthening memory and learning skills
Crocin and saffron extract: dealing with the lack of blood supply to the tissue of brain cells, brain damage and memory loss
Crocin and safranal: reduction of morphine addiction

Effect on the cardiovascular system and blood cells

Saffron extract, safranal: protective effect against heart attack
Crocin: protective effect against irregular heart muscle function in pumping and blood circulation
Crocin: effect on artery stabilization
Crocin: effect on blood pressure
Crocin: Hyperlipidemia means reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and Low concentration of lipoprotein cholesterol
safranal and crocin: reduction of blood toxins

Effect on the immune system

Saffron components: anti-infectious diseases (measles, smallpox, yellow fever) and have antibacterial, anti-infective and anti-fungal effects. Saffron and safranal: anti-damage
effects to nerve cells .
toothache, swelling, ear infection, anal pain, gout, inflammation and gingivitis)

Effect on the reproductive and urinary system

Crocin, saffron extract, saffron: Delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction
Saffron: Effect on men's sexual behavior and women's premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Saffron: Improves kidney function

Effects on the eyes

Elements and compounds of saffron: poor vision, lack of daytime vision, impaired tear production, diseases related to the retina and cornea of ​​the eye, and cataracts

Effect on the skin

Liposome containing safranal and lotions containing saffron: sunscreen, moisturizing, softening and anti-itching properties; skin shine and clarity; Reducing dark pigments, darkness and bruises under the eyes and pimples and treating other skin problems and disorders widely

In the research of the Traditional Medicine Institute of Portland, Oregon, USA, it is stated that today Iran is known as the main producer of saffron in the world and accounts for about 85% of the world's production. Spain is the world's second largest producer and the first international distributor of saffron. Other countries such as Portugal, France, Italy and Turkey are among the smaller producers. Kashmir has also started production on a large scale but is not yet recognized as a major source of production. A number of provinces in China have also started to produce this valuable plant. In addition to the mentioned countries, other countries such as Greece, Morocco, Germany, Japan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Egypt, England and the United States of America are in the next ranks in terms of production. The main problem in saffron productionIt is that this plant grows in desert areas but needs enough water to survive. Irrigation is expensive and difficult in many of the mentioned areas. Severe droughts can cause significant damage to this product


The properties of each of the saffron compounds

Crocin: Crocin has antioxidant properties and protects nerve cells. The antioxidant properties of crocin are due to the presence of Glycosyl in its chemical composition. Also, it has anti-cancer properties. Antistatic is a component of a drug that prevents cell growth. Research has shown that crocin can also be used  as an antidepressant .
Picrocrocin: This compound can help to better digest food, prevent stomach problems and ulcers, balance insulin in the body, reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body. It also has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties.
Carotenoids: The medicinal properties of carotenoids are due to the antioxidant properties of these compounds, also, beta-carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A in the body. These compounds are also responsible for eye health.
Lycopene: Almost all foods that contain lycopene have the following properties;
- High antioxidant properties  
- Prevention of various types of cancer
- Heart health
- Protecting the skin against sunlight
- Its anti-depressant properties
Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and is beneficial for the health of the skin, immune system and eyes. are.
Xanthin: Prevention of eye problems and diseases such as cataracts.

Quality of saffron

Saffrons do not always have a constant quality and coloring, their quality depends on factors such as the style of harvesting and the time of harvesting. Due to the high price of this spice, it is mostly used by weight or gram. You can see the price of one shekel of saffron on the linked page.
The best saffrons are generally produced in Iran, Spain and Kashmir and are classified according to quality depending on the different categories. 

What is the reason for the high price of saffron

These days, saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the market. The reason for this high price is the purple flower from which saffron is produced, each flower produces only three strands of saffron, in fact, to produce one pound of saffron (1 pound is equal to 453.592 grams), 75,000 strands of saffron are needed. Is. You can read everything about the reason for the high price of this spice in the article on saffron, the most expensive spice in the world .


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