Saffron, the magical plant known as the “red gold” is one of the most valuable plants used to treat various diseases, especially when it comes to the nervous system of older adults.
About the Saffron Plant:
The saffron grows as a small bush on the ground and bears a beautiful flower. However, the spice we know as “red gold” is the stigma of this beautiful flower cultivated by farmers. There is also a wild variety of saffron found in nature. This plant thrives in dry and low-water areas. The best quality saffron is cultivated in eastern Iran, particularly in the province of Khorasan. Saffron also grows in other regions, but it has a different quality than Iranian saffron, considered one of the best types of saffron in the world.
Historical sources indicate that saffron was first cultivated in regions near the Mediterranean Sea, where people discovered that the stigmas in the saffron flower could be used for spice production. The saffron plant produces one of the most expensive spices in the world. There have even been times when saffron was used as a medium of exchange instead of coins and gold in commercial transactions, serving as a form of capital. Therefore, saffron is not only recognized as a culinary ingredient but also as a commercial commodity.
Benefits of saffron
We mostly know saffron as a spice used to enhance the flavour of food or for its aromatic properties. It is used in various desserts, beverages, and dishes to add a pleasant fragrance and aroma. Sometimes saffron is also used for colouring different foods and beverages, making the table more beautiful for guests. The saffron extract makes them delicious, aromatic, and visually appealing, even in ice creams and various desserts, which have many applications.
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In this way, those who consume saffron-infused dishes derive greater enjoyment. However, the properties of saffron are not limited to its colour, taste, flavour, and aroma alone. From ancient times to today, the saffron plant has been widely used as a medicinal herb. In the past, many traditional healers were aware of the powerful effects of saffron on certain diseases, especially neurological and psychological conditions. They knew that saffron possessed abundant properties for the treatment of various illnesses. The use of saffron is not limited to traditional medicine alone, as saffron extract is also utilized in modern medicine to develop new drugs.
Why is saffron effective in treating older adults’ diseases?
As previously mentioned, saffron can be effective in the treatment of various diseases. Based on numerous clinical studies conducted on the properties of saffron spice from ancient times to the present, scientists have concluded that saffron can significantly impact the treatment of various diseases. The presence of crocin in saffron spice confirms that this plant can treat different diseases. Crocin, which exists in saffron spice, is a powerful antioxidant, and many of the therapeutic properties attributed to saffron are due to the presence of this compound. Scientists are still conducting experiments on saffron spice to determine how effective it can be in treating diseases in older adults.
Saffron spice, which contains a highly potent antioxidant called crocin, can be the basis for producing numerous drugs to treat various diseases. In this article, we attempt to examine the impact of saffron on diseases related to older adults.
Note: This section again emphasizes that excessive consumption of saffron or its derivatives can have various consequences and side effects. Therefore, if you decide to use saffron, it is better to consult with your medical practitioner beforehand.
According to research conducted by laboratory scientists, the saffron plant consists of various elements that significantly impact the human nervous system. Due to its effects on the human nervous system, saffron promotes feelings of happiness. Additionally, saffron contributes to vitality and well-being because it affects metabolism and blood circulation. Controlled consumption of saffron under the supervision of a physician in older adults can significantly help strengthen their physical abilities, thereby improving their mood. This, in turn, strengthens the nerves of older adult individuals.
effect of saffron on Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia, is one of the most prevalent forms of cognitive decline. This disease gradually weakens the patient’s memory, starting with a gradual decline in short-term memory and eventually affecting long-term memory. In advanced stages, it impairs the patient’s cognitive abilities, such as thinking, reasoning, and judgment, about ordinary and routine matters, causing significant difficulties in daily life for both the individual and their family.
Alzheimer’s disease is classified as a neurological disorder and is scientifically called neurogenic. It results in the impairment of remembering individuals and understanding many aspects of daily life. Alzheimer’s patients lose cognitive abilities, including memory, emotions, speech, personality, and behaviours. This disease is increasing worldwide and is more prevalent among the older adult as a neurological disorder. Alzheimer’s is a dangerous disease that ultimately leads to the gradual death of the affected individual.
Currently, Alzheimer’s disease ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s leads to the deterioration and weakening of economic systems and the depletion of healthcare resources, imposing significant financial burdens on governments and the families of Alzheimer’s patients. Families also suffer significant mental and emotional damage. While it would be highly beneficial if Alzheimer’s disease could be cured, no specific treatment is currently available. Experts and physicians believe that prevention or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s is the preferred approach.
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As a natural substance, Saffron is considered a memory enhancer, and its antioxidants are beneficial against toxic factors that cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. In other words, natural saffron is a highly effective drug for preventing Alzheimer’s. Many studies have been conducted on the effects of saffron on Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating that natural saffron has a significant therapeutic effect on Alzheimer’s patients as a conventional treatment. However, it should be noted that individuals with Alzheimer’s cannot be cured simply by consuming saffron.
Nevertheless, the consumption of saffron has a notable impact on the improvement and treatment of these individuals, or rather, individuals should use saffron as a spice in their food and beverages before developing Alzheimer’s to maintain their memory and enhance their brain’s resistance against cognitive decline-inducing toxins. In advanced laboratories, saffron extracts are also used to produce chemical medications that treat various diseases. Tablets and syrups containing the antioxidant compound crocin, derived from saffron extracts, are formulated for this purpose.
effect of saffron in the treatment of depression
Another neurological disease that can affect individuals in old age is depression. Psychologists and researchers have conducted extensive studies on various communities and have concluded that depression is the most prevalent among all neurological and mental disorders. People can experience depression in various circumstances, such as facing difficulties in daily tasks and lacking problem-solving abilities, experiencing decreased productivity in their jobs, and being unable to regain their previous occupational position. Emotional relationships also significantly impact depression, with more individuals being affected by this condition. Certain physical conditions, such as excessive obesity or thinness, can also contribute to depression.
In old age, individuals often become lonely, lose many family members and close acquaintances, and can no longer work and be productive as they did in the past. Feeling sadness and grief can be a normal part of people’s emotions, as everyone experiences distressing events in life. However, if you regularly experience sadness, unhappiness, and hopelessness, you may be experiencing depression. Depression is a neurological and mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness and grief, among the signs of depression. The result is a disruption of the affected person’s daily activities. Inactivity is another factor in depression. Physical weakness, cognitive impairment in remembering daily matters and difficulty in solving everyday problems are other factors contributing to depression.
Saffron, with its safranal component, can help alleviate the problem of depression in older adult individuals. This natural substance stimulates the secretion of happiness hormones in the brain and can significantly treat depression in individuals affected by this condition. However, the consumption of saffron should be moderate, and excessive use of this spice should be avoided, as excessive consumption can be harmful and have side effects.
effect of saffron on Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s is another neurological disorder that is more common among the older adult. This disease occurs due to the loss of cells that secrete dopamine. However, there can be various causes for this condition, and scientists have not yet found a clear reason why nerve cells are lost. Patients with this disease experience tremors in their limbs at rest. The severity of tremors increases with the severity of the disease. In Parkinson’s patients, due to an increase in the level of acetylcholine compared to dopamine in the brain, muscle dryness and stiffness occur, and their hands and feet may twist. The exact origin of this disease has not been identified. This disease mostly occurs in older ages but has also been observed in other age groups. Additionally, Parkinson’s disease can be inherited from parents to children.
There is no definite cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, it can be managed, and its effects can be reduced through various methods so that affected individuals can have fewer difficulties in their daily lives and continue living like normal individuals. One of these approaches is the use of saffron spice in the diet of these individuals, which a treating physician must supervise.
But how can saffron help in improving Parkinson’s alongside the use of conventional medications? According to laboratory research conducted by scientists worldwide in various countries, saffron contains three main compounds. These three compounds determine the quality of saffron. They include crocin, the colouring element of saffron; picrocrocin, which determines the taste of saffron; and safranal, which gives saffron its pleasant aroma. Besides their inherent functions, these compounds also have numerous medicinal properties. Crocin, in particular, can be considered the most important constituent of saffron. This element is highly effective in treating Parkinson’s disease in a way that it acts as a protective shield against the destruction of brain cells. This protection prevents the loss of beneficial brain cells and slows the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, crocin present in saffron not only helps prevent the progression of Parkinson’s disease but also prevents other neurological and brain disorders. The fact that crocin has been able to prevent Parkinson’s disease has been demonstrated in a laboratory where it was tested on rats. It is worth mentioning that excessive consumption of saffron can have various risks, so you should consult your treating physician before using saffron to receive the necessary guidance on incorporating saffron spice into your diet.
Side Effects of excessive consumption of Saffron in the Older adults
As you know, excessive consumption of any food or spice can be risky and have severe side effects. Saffron is no exception to this rule.
Some of the most common side effects of excessive saffron consumption in older adults include dizziness, vomiting, skin and eye yellowing, diarrhea, food poisoning, cerebral hemorrhage, numbness of eyelids and lips, and more.
Drug interactions with saffron:
As you know, using saffron can cause anxiety, drowsiness, stomach discomfort, allergic reactions, and more. Therefore, in some cases, saffron can interact with blood pressure medications.
Allergic reactions to saffron:
Like many foods, saffron can cause sensitivity and lead to symptoms such as itching, coughing, asthma, and more in some individuals. Therefore, consult a doctor if you experience the above symptoms after consuming saffron.
Who is at high risk when consuming saffron?
As mentioned, saffron can significantly stimulate emotional behaviours. Therefore, consuming this spice can be risky for individuals with bipolar disorder, low blood pressure, heart patients, and others.
Older adults can benefit from saffron, the magical herb because it stimulates the nervous system. It can be used to alleviate insomnia caused by brain stimulation. Saffron can be consumed both with meals and as a herbal tea. Due to its antioxidant properties, saffron has been extensively used in treating cardiovascular diseases, preventing heart-related conditions, and certain types of cancer. In traditional medicine, saffron is considered a herbal remedy that promotes happiness and relaxation. It can also effectively treat many more prevalent diseases in older adults. In modern medicine, saffron holds a significant position. The components of saffron, each with its properties, are utilized in producing modern chemical drugs. Due to its potent antioxidant property, Crocin has a positive effect on treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and sclerosis. It has also been highly effective in preventing the progression of various types of cancers. Saffron consumption has a very good antidepressant effect and is considered a suitable herbal remedy for treating this condition.
Individuals suffering from iron deficiency can also overcome this problem by consuming saffron. Saffron facilitates iron absorption from food, thus alleviating the problems associated with low blood platelets and anemia caused by iron deficiency. According to ancient medicine, saffron has a warm and dry temperament. Saffron herbal tea is a suitable remedy for chronic and persistent coughs. Among the most important properties of saffron is its ability to create joy in the mind, strengthen muscles, and improve blood circulation.