Saffron, the golden spice is a rare and fascinating herb that has been used for culinary purposes, as a plant dye and as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. It comes from the crocus sativa plant and is said to be effective against a 100 maladies. But why is saffron called the “sunshine herb” and why is it especially recommended for mothers-to-be?
Pregnancy and morning sickness are like two sides of the same coin. Sipping on saffron infused tea is believed to soothe the digestive system which helps relieve nausea and discomfort associated with morning sickness when consumed in limited amounts. Saffron also helps fight acidity, enhance digestion, improve blood flow and boost the metabolism of an expecting mom. Crocin and safranal- two components present in saffron are effective in regulating blood pressure levels during pregnancy. Saffron is called the “sunshine spice” not simply as a nod to its flaming red colour but also because it is effective in brightening one’s mood. Clinical studies show that saffron is effective in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. Therefore, drinking saffron milk or adding it to food can prevent mood swings in pregnant women and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and irritation.
While consuming saffron in limited amounts may provide unlimited benefits for an expecting mother, excessive consumption can cause toxicity and lead to preterm labour and miscarriage. Ayurveda suggests that pregnant women start consuming saffron from the second trimester onwards – once the baby’s movement can be felt in the womb, as then the pregnancy is more stable. It is best to consult your doctor about herbs and spices safe to use during pregnancy.