Advertisement

The Pain-Fighting Power of Saffron

The Pain-Fighting Power of Saffron

Did you know it takes 70,000 to 250,000 purple saffron crocuses to make one pound of the amber-red seasoning (it’s made from dried stigma, the part of the flower where pollen germinates)? No wonder it costs $75 or more an ounce.

But its delicate flavor, wonderful color and nutritional payload (vitamin B 2, flavonoids) turn out to be only part of its powers: A study reveals that taking the spice is a more effective way to prevent and control post-exercise pain than taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever called indomethacin; it’s an NSAID like ibuprofen.

Researchers had a group of inactive 18-year-olds go through a series of strenuous exercises: Those who took the powdered saffron (300mg daily for one week before and for three days after working out) were pain-free for 72 hours after exercising; those who took the NSAID had minor pain 24 hours later; and those who took neither had severe muscle pain for three days afterwards.

So the next time you’re getting ready to take a hike, join a charity walk-a-thon, do a fun-run or are just looking for a flavor treat, cook up some paella, vegetable soup or Moroccan seafood stew and add some saffron. Luckily it takes just a pinch to impart its flavor and goodness.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Take an Opioid
Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Take an Opioid
When Alice (in Wonderland) spied a little glass box, “she opened it and found in it a very small cake, on which the words EAT ME were beautifully mark...
Read More
How do medications treat pain?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Analgesics, or pain relievers, essentially numb pain until it goes away. Over-the-counter pain relie...
More Answers
How can I help prevent painkiller withdrawal symptoms after surgery?
Columbia University Department of SurgeryColumbia University Department of Surgery
After surgery, many patients go home from hospital on strong pain medication, for example, OxyContin...
More Answers
The Heat and Electrotherapy Solution for Your Pain
The Heat and Electrotherapy Solution for Your Pain