Saffron Crocus

Crocus sativus

The homeopathic remedy crocus is derived from the flower of the plant saffron crocus (botanical name Crocus sativus). Saffron is basically a spice that is obtained from the flower of saffron crocus, a plant species belonging to crocus in the Iridaceae (a large family of typically perennial geophytic herbs having rhizomes or corms).

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The flowers of Crocus sativus produce three stigmas, all away from the attachment of a carpel. The stigmas are dried out and used in culinary as an agent to season as well as coloring the cooked foods. Since long, saffron has been considered to be the most costly spice of the world by weight. It is indigenous to south-west Asia.

In general, saffron tastes bitter and smells like iodoform (a penetrating odour something like the smell of hay), which is attributed to the presence of chemicals like safranal and picrocrocin. Crocin is a carotenoid dye that permits saffron to provide a rich golden yellow color to the foods as well as textiles.

Saffron has been cultivated since long and, according to available ancient records, it dates back to over 3,000 years. The natural ancestor of domesticated saffron crocus was known as Crocus cartwrightianus. People began cultivating saffron by selecting the specimens that had exceptionally long stigmas.

In this process, Crocus sativus, a disinfected mutant, emerged from Crocus cartwrightianus in the latter phase of the Bronze Age Crete. According to experts, saffron was documented for the first time in an Assyrian botanical reference in the 7th century BC.

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This botanical reference was compiled under Ashurbanipal, who was the ruler of Assyria at that time. In due course, people have been able to uncover documentation pertaining to the medicinal use of saffron for over 4,000 years to treat as many as 90 different health conditions and ailments.

Crocus sativus or the domesticated saffron is a perennial plant that flowers in autumn and does not grow in the wild. The domesticated saffron is a sterile triploid variety that has its origin in Crocus cartwrightianus that has its roots in Central Asia. This variety of saffron came from the eastern Mediterranean region and, as aforementioned, flowers in autumn.

It is said that the saffron crocus is a result of the extensive artificial selection of Crocus cartwrightianus by the cultivators who were looking for plant whose flowers have exceptionally long stigmas. Since this variety of saffron is sterile, the purple flowers of the plant are unable to produce seeds that are viable.

Hence, for reproduction, this plant has to rely on humans, who dig up the corms or underground bulb-like parts that are used for storing starch, break apart the corms and they replant them. Usually, a corm is able to survive only for one season.

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It reproduces through such division (usually one corm is broken up into ten parts or 'cormlets') and each of these divisions give rise to a new plant. The corms of the domesticated saffron are basically petite brown balls or globules growing up to 4.5 cm or 1.8 inches in diameter.

The plants undergo aestivating (something akin to hibernation in animals) during spring, the saffron plant gives rise from 5 to 11 slender and almost vertical green leaves - each of them growing up to 40 cm or 16 inches in length. The purple buds emerge during autumn. The vividly colored flowers of saffron appear only in October, when nearly all other flowering plants have discharged their seeds.

The saffron flowers have a wide variety of colors ranging from pale pastel shade of lilac to a more dark and streaky mauve. When the plants are in full blossom, their average height is even less than 30 cm or 12 inches. Each flower produces a three-pronged style and each of these prongs of the style ends with a bright crimson stigma that is anything between 25 mm and 30 mm (0.98 inches to 1.2 inches) long.

The long red-colored stigmas of Crocus sativus (domesticated saffron) actually form the source of the spice saffron. Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was the first to use saffron for medicinal purpose as a purgative and salve capable of alleviating pain and other problems. In addition, he also used saffron for its aphrodisiac properties.

On the other hand, ancient Arabians utilized saffron as a therapy for problematic labor as well as for curing liver ailments. Right from those early days, people in different regions of the world used saffron in conventional medicine for treating as well as preventing an assortment of diseases and health conditions. It has frequently been used to treat conditions, such as asthma, arthritis and mental ailments.

As mentioned earlier, the exceptionally long and reddish orange stigmas of a specific species of crocus (saffron) form the source of the spice saffron. While saffron is known to have originated in Arabia, the plant was taken to Spain in the 8th century and currently this country is the major exporter of saffron as a spice.

Saffron is known to be a very expensive spice usually selling for as high prices as $50 for each ounce of the substance. Saffron is costly owing to the fact that about 200,000 dried stigmas collected from approximately 70,000 flowers are required to produce a mere pound of the spice.

While saffron has been used for natural medicinal purpose since a long time, lately, it is not used so widely as a medicine simply owing to its high cost. Nevertheless, even to this day, saffron is very popular as a spice and is among the most extensively used herb in culinary. This is primarily because using a small amount of saffron is enough to cook several dishes.

In fact, just adding a pinch of saffron provides a distinctive flavour and color to several food items, including rice dishes, soups and pastries. Although it is quite expensive, adding even a little amount of saffron to your meals is worth spending your money well. According to one medical research, Spain has a very low rate of heart problems and it is attributed to the generous use of saffron in cooking Spanish dishes.

As discussed earlier, saffron encloses the carotenoids crocin and crocetin, which give the stigmas their reddish orange hue. In addition, the stigmas of the flowers of Crocus sativus (domesticated saffron) also enclose an aromatic essential oil known as safranal. Other elements contained in saffron include pinene, cineol and a substance known as picrocrocin (called saffron bitters). Besides these constituents, saffron is also rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B1 (thiamine) content.

Saffron milk is an extremely tasty, comforting drink that may be effective in providing relief from cardiac ailments. In order to prepare saffron milk, you need to boil one cup of milk and add a pinch of saffron to it.

Subsequently, lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for around two minutes. Before you take it off the heat, add honey to sweeten and flavour the mixture. You may drink a cup of saffron milk once daily, as it will help to keep you in your best of health as well as facilitate avoiding several ailments.

As aforementioned, saffron is useful in treating a wide range of ailments. Below is a brief discussion on the condition specific uses of this valuable herb.

It has been clinically proved that the use of Crocus sativus is effective in treating recurrent and acute mood and emotional changes - ranging from being very humorous to profound despondency or sadness. People suffering from this condition may be extremely happy and affectionate as well as wanting to kiss everyone at one moment, but become violent with anger the very next minute.

In addition, saffron as well as the homeopathic remedy crocus prepared from it is effective in treating hemorrhages in any part of the body, especially when the blood is black, clotted, viscid (sticky) forming into lengthy black strings suspending from the surface of the bleeding.

It is also beneficial for people suffering from nosebleed wherein the blood is black, stringy (gristly) and persistent. People, particularly children who develop very fast usually experience cold sweat in big drops on the forehead. Although they may be experiencing cold sweat, they desire to be fanned. This is especially true when the nosebleeds exude bright red blood.

Crocus is also effective in relieving headaches, especially in women who are in their menopausal phase. In such conditions, women have an excruciating and pulsating sensation which worsens during the days of the habituated menstrual flow. They may also experience nervous or menstrual headache prior to, during as well as after the accustomed menstrual flow.

Parts used

The unusually long stigma as well as a portion of the style of the Crocus sativus (domesticated saffron) is used to prepare the homeopathic remedy crocus.


The homeopathic remedy crocus is generally used to heal emotional symptoms, for instance, being gripped by unexpected melancholy or gloom, even as the individual may be reading something interesting and engrossing. People suffering from such conditions experience extreme mood swings, such as changing from being angry to becoming calm and from being humorous to being gripped by sadness.

They may also experience a curious sensation something like the whole lot in their body is shuddering. Such a feeling is likely to be an indication of a mental ailment like schizophrenia. Using crocus will help in treating such conditions and associated symptoms.

Other symptoms that can be effective treated using the homeopathic medicine crocus include menstrual bleeding as well as nasal bleeding, which is black, clotted and gristly. It has been found that crocus is an effective remedy for hemorrhages or bleedings that are generally black and stringy.

This homeopathic medicine is also beneficial for people who experience itchiness in different parts of their body and suffer from chorea (any disease of the nervous system that is distinguished by shuddering and instinctive movements, especially of the face and extremities) and have frenzied affections.

Crocus is also useful in treating conditions like recurrent and intense changes in feelings, moods as well as mental conditions. People suffering from this condition experience extreme mood swings from being angry and violent to having a feeling of repentance soon after. They may also suffer from laugh mania, tiredness and lethargy. These symptoms improve when the sufferers are engaged in literary labor.

Gently massaging an ointment prepared from saffron into the throbbing joint is a conventional medication for treating gout. Since saffron is one of the costliest spices available in the market, it is unlikely that you will avail this salve off the rack in stores selling health foods. Nevertheless, you may prepare the ointment yourself by combining a few threads of saffron with petroleum jelly.

This salve is applied externally on the affected areas. You may spread a thin coating of the ointment on the affected regions every day in the morning and evening. Keep using this salve till the pain in the joint disappears completely.

In addition to the above-mentioned medicinal uses of saffron, it is also effective in assuaging exhaustion and fatigue, mainly owing to the fact that it works to reinforce/ fortify the heart and the nervous system. Saffron also facilitates the digestive process by enhancing appetite as well as increasing the production of gastric juices/ enzymes.


Crocus sativus (domesticated saffron), whose flowers, especially the style and stigma, form the basis for the homeopathic remedy crocus, is indigenous to south-west Asia. Presently, this plant is cultivated extensively all over Europe. This plant has its origin in the wild variety of saffron called Crocus cartwrightianus.


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