Sleep better with this spice! The many benefits of saffron

Mar 05, 2020
Pure and potent saffron is hard to come by and could cost you a pretty penny! Source: Getty.

There’s nothing else quite as frustrating as struggling to fall asleep – except maybe suffering through the consequences of over-tiredness the next day. However, those with self-reported sleeping problems may be able to finally relax after a study revealed the benefits that saffron could have on encouraging a good night’s rest.

The study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine from Murdoch University looked into the positive effects that standardised saffron extract had on adults with sleeping issues. The trial saw 63 healthy subjects, aged between 18 and 70, receive a daily intake of either saffron extract or a placebo.

After 28 days, the results showed that the use of saffron was clearly associated with improvements in sleep quality. Meanwhile, the spice was well-received and tolerated by the subjects and showed no adverse reactions.

Along with a good night’s sleep, the saffron extract, which is sold in stores under the brand name Affron, has also been known to support mood, encourage relaxation, relieve stress and tension and lower anxiety and stress in adolescents.

An eight-week long study from 2019 also found that Affron helped with depressive moods in subjects by 41 per cent compared to 21 per cent who were given a placebo. The study strongly suggested that the saffron extract be safely used for those continuing to experience mild to moderate depressive symptoms adding that it may also reduce some of the side effects from pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Despite all of its benefits however, saffron has long been the most expensive spice by weight due to its labour-intensive picking-process. And with such a high-cost, the sought-after spice can often be subjected to adulteration by containing ingredients that resemble it rather than the spice itself.

Getting high-quality, pure saffron products is vital for reaping the many benefits, but knowing if you’re getting the right product can often be difficult with so many imposters hanging around the market.

Looking for products that are officially registered means that they have been examined for potency in clinical studies and are a trusted source for a pure product. Even understanding the geographic location is important when deciding on a saffron brand as it is primarily produced in Iran but is grown to the highest quality in Spain.

Additionally, using an extract rather than a powdered saffron product will mean impurities are removed and the active components are not damaged. It also means you can get far more out of a serving than if you were to grind it up.

A large percentage of Australians may benefit from the spice as a 2016 Sleep Health Survey from The University of Adelaide said that sleep problems and their daytime consequences can affect 33 to 45 per cent of Australian adults. Medical conditions that were most likely to impact a good night’s sleep included sleep apnea, insomnia and restless legs.

It also looked at the effects of the ’24/7 society’ where over a quarter of all adults use the internet every night of the week just before bed and as a result suffer from frequent sleep difficulties. Meanwhile, the almost a third of Australians reported driving while drowsy at least once a month while a worrying 20 per cent have admitted to nodding off while behind the wheel.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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