Saffron Crocus Sativus
The reddish-orange stigmas of a special variety of crocus are the source of saffron. Although saffron originated in Arabia, the plant was brought to Spain in the eighth century, and today that country is the major exporter of the spice. Saffron is costly—selling for as much as $50 an ounce— because approximately 200,000 dried stigmas from about 70,000 flowers are needed to produce just one pound.
Although it has a long history of use in natural medicine, saffron has fallen out of favor as a curative due to its price. It is still popular as a culinary herb, however, because a little goes a long way: Just a pinch of saffron lends a distinctive flavor and color to rice dishes, pastries and soups. Indeed, addin saffron to your diet may be well worth the cost.
One medical study suggests that the low rate of heart disease in Spain is due partly to the liberal use of saffron in Spanish cooking.
Saffron Salve For Gout Symptoms
Rubbing a salve made from saffron into achy joints is an old folk remedy for gout. Because of saffron's high price, it is unlikely that you will find it ready-made in health-food stores. You can make your own, however, by blending a few threads of saffron into petroleum jelly. Spread a thin layer of the salve on the affected areas in the morning and evening. Use the salve until the joint pain abates.