Fine Lines

Volume 2, Issue 4

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12 ASCP Fine Lines Spice It Up Saffron can help a host of problems By Kris Campbell Saffron is a relatively new natural ingredient in professional skin care. One of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus. For more than 3,500 years, saffron has been widely used medicinally to promote health and fight disease. It is also valued as a food additive for taste, flavor, and color, as well as for its therapeutic properties. The plant usually thrives in the Mediterranean and in similar climates where hot and cold summer breezes blow over semi-arid lands. The flower of the plant is purple and possesses a soothing, honey-like fragrance. The stigma of the Crocus sativus flower provides the yellow coloring most associated with saffron. NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS Saffron is loaded with manganese, an essential trace mineral that helps regulate blood sugar and aids the formation of bones, tissues, and sex hormones as well as normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Saffron also contains vitamin C, which fights infections and aids iron absorption. Many of saffron's healthful qualities can be attributed to crocin, a compound in saffron that has many anti-inflammatory properties. Saffron contains more than 150 volatile, non-volatile, and aroma-yielding compounds consisting of lipophilic and hydrophilic carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, minerals, mucilage, and vitamins (especially riboflavin and thiamine). HEALTH BENEFITS Anticarcinogenic: Widely known for anticarcinogenic benefits when taken internally, some research has shown the carotenoids in saffron combat cancer cells topically. Crocetinic acid (a purified compound from crocetin) may have the potential to inhibit pancreatic cancer, according to recent studies. Bone Health: Saffron can also lower cortisol levels and increase estrogen levels, which may account for its positive effects on bone health.

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