Saffron: A Little Plant With a Lot of Punch

In honor of the fullest’s new Saffron Latte, we’re getting into all the juicy details of the world’s most expensive spice. This ancient plant dates as far back as the 12th century, and, given that it blooms but once a year and must be harvested by hand, it is indeed worth every penny. But don’t let its size and fragileness fool you like a red Ferrari, this tiny red plant packs a lot of power. 

Historically, the origin of saffron remains a mystery, with some claiming it hails from Greece and others placing its home country as Iran. Today its cultivation of threads (stigmata) is spread out amongst Greece, Iran, India, and Morocco. Derived from the flower Crocus Sativus, its variations include Afghan saffron, pure Spanish saffron, and Persian saffron. 

Mainly used for culinary and medicinal purposes, saffron’s yellow-orange color also makes great dye for food and clothing. 

Saffron is jam-packed with over 150 compounds, including antioxidants, carotenoids, minerals, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, and vitamins (A, C, B-6, and B-12). All of these compounds have tremendous and widespread effects throughout the body’s interconnected systems, and many are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, which is perhaps why saffron is often associated with reductions in depression and anxiety. 

When it comes to the gut-body connection, we know that inflammation in the gut can cause a vast range of health problems, from IBS to food allergies. While the mind-gut connection is still in some sense a mystery, there has never been a stronger correlation between one’s overall gut and mental health. (After all, the gut makes about 90% of the serotonin in your body, which is a key neurotransmitter and contributes to those “happy feelings” we all strive for.) Chronic inflammation in the gut can affect the production of serotonin (and the entire endocrine system) as your body diverts more energy towards repairing and maintaining itself rather than working on regulating its “normal” hormone production level. 

For years psychology has linked depression and anxiety to low levels of serotonin, and more and more studies are showing that there’s something very impactful about saffron’s effect on the hormone. 

In fact, in 2013 the National Institute of Health published an article on clinical trials which showed that patients suffering from mild-to-moderate depression showed a decrease in overall symptoms after adding saffron to their diets.

Also known to improve respiratory health, optimize the digestive system, eliminate pain, improve sleep, boost heart health, strengthen bones, and improve immune function, saffron is making its way to the US with a vengeance and has quickly become a daily staple in the wellness realm, a recommended dose being between ½ -1 gram.  

the fullest’s Saffron Latte combines their powdered saffron blend, cardamom, and milk (preference of choice), and makes for a powerful, healing, and delicious beverage not to mention it’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free, organic, and void of processed or refined sugar. Basically it’s all the stuff you want and none of the stuff you don’t.

You’re only as powerful as your next meal, so sip accordingly!

Shop the fullest’s own Saffron Latte here.

Julia Piantini is a writer based in Miami, Florida. Find her on Instagram at @julia_piantini.

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