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The Sanskrit name for Saffron is Bhagva,
derived from the word ‘Bhagvan’,
meaning God,
or from ‘Bhagya’, meaning good fortune.

Saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigmas of Crocus Sativus Linné, which been used and valued throughout history and has remained among the world’s costliest substances. The stigmas (threads) of around 100,000 flowers are required to make a single kilo of pure dried saffron; making it more valuable than its weight in gold.
There is evidence of the uses of Saffron in the earliest known complex civilisations. Saffron has been used and prized as a spice, a medicine, a perfume, in paints, to show royalty, for anointing, as a gift from the Gods and as an offering to the Godsover millennia. Writings and glyphs pertaining to the uses of Saffron exist from Mesopotamia, Assyria and Babylon, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome and ancient India. The first documentation of the medical use of Saffron was found in Assurbanipal library (668-627 BC); in inscriptions that date back to 12th century BC.
It is believed that it was the Persians who first cultivated Saffron rather than harvesting the wild flowers. Saffron fell out of favour between the fall of the Roman Empire and the occupation of Europe by the Moors, when it saw resurgence. Saffron was brought to England in the 14th century and in the 16th century a southern town changed its name and became Saffron Walden;where they cultivated and exported saffron, used it as a dye, a spice and for seasoning. And every year in Spain there is a Saffron festival, Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafran, where people compete in Saffron picking and cookingcompetitions. Ships carrying Saffron were even targeted by pirates, it was considered so valuable.

Saffron is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, diuretic, immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, emmenagogue and diaphoretic and can lower cholesterol. At present there are ninety known medical indications for Saffron, including; heart stimulant, clearing clots, headaches, arthritis, abortion or easing of labour and delivery of placenta, asthma, eczema and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. There is currently a great deal of investigation into how best to utilise the properties of Saffron in the arsenals of modern medicine.

Saffron was also used in religious rites and spiritual practices, and by mystics. It is a mood elevator and has antidepressant and hallucinogenic properties. It was and still is, used to achieve various altered states ranging from heightened sensitivity to states of trance.

At present, there is the resurgence in desire to connect with the wisdom of the ancients, the bounty of nature and the desire to ‘go inside’ and access higher states of consciousness. Saffron is one of the powerful tools that nature has provided to allow us to access that wisdom and truth that resides within and all around is, in everyone and everything. We can use Saffron to connect with our communities, honour the sacred, draw deeply into the present, to value nature and open our minds to receive wisdom from Big Mind or Higher Consciousness.
(Saffron in contraindicated for people suffering from Bipolar disorder or manic episodes.)


Carlene Goldasher  
2016 Pilamaya Graduate 


ReferencesRoyal Saffron, Ceremonial Saffron,

Researchgate, ‘Historical uses of saffron: Identifying potential new avenues for modern Research’, Seyedeh Zeinab Mousavi, Seyedeh Zahra Bathaie,,other%20diseases%20in%20various%20cultures

RX List, Saffron, & Frances Online, ‘Probing the Mystery of the Use of Saffron in Medieval Nunneries’, Volker Schier, Pages 57-72,

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