Saffron is considered to be the world’s most expensive spice and has been extensively used in north Indian and Persian cooking. Iran is the largest producer of saffron, however, other nations including India, Greece and Spain also cultivate saffron. This spice originates from Crocus sativus, a purple flower that grows in cool dry climates. The stigmas of these flowers are harvested individually and sold.
Saffron has also been studied over the years for it’s beneficial medical and dietary properties. It was found that saffron extracts prevented retinal damage in lab rats was used as a potential treatment for ischemic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The study of the stigma and the petals revealed that they had many anti-inflammatory properties. Studies of saffron showed that a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rabbits with high lipid compositions. Moreover, it has been noted that the age of the land plays a major role in the fitness of Crocus sativus. An older land provides a population with more resilience and results in harvests with more flowers per plant.