Saffron (Kesar) is an exotic spice most revered in Ayurveda for its heavenly smell, subtle taste and health benefits. It is considered as satvik spice and balances all three doshas- Vata(air), Pitta(fire) and Kapha(water).
As per Ayurveda saffron has invigorating and nourishing qualities. It therapeutically benefits blood, heart and reproductive system. It is good for anaemia as it raises haemoglobin levels. From ages, it has been prescribed for delayed or difficult or painful menses. It also has a subtle nourishing effect on nervous and reproductive tissues. It strengthens the effect of any other food or herb it is taken with, being satvik in quality it helps counter negative emotions depression and deficiency.
As you can get health benefits only from the purest form of saffron, it is important to know how to identify the adulterated one.
How to check the purity of Saffron?
Taste and smell
Taste (rasa) of saffron as per text should be bitter and pungent. It should not taste sweet as it smells. It smells sweet like pure honey and hay. The aroma should be fresh and strong but should not be musty.
Look and Touch
Saffron strands are pure red with a little yellow at its base. strands must be dry and brittle to the touch. One should always choose uniformly long bright strands.
When saffron is put in water- most of it floats on the surface and colours the water but does not lose its own colour. Fake saffron strands would look different after being left for some time in the water. When pure saffron is added to water which is mixed with little baking soda, the water turns yellow while fake would change the colour to dim red.
Rub between the fingers
Rub and squeeze the saffron strands between fingers, if you see some fat, your saffron is pure and original. Dip saffron strands in water for few minutes. Rub few threads between your fingers, if it is pure, threads will not break or fall apart but fake threads may break or turn into liquid
Moist or not
Just by spraying of water, seller adds an additional 10-15% weight to the saffron. So it is important to ensure the Saffron you’re buying isn’t moist. It should be perfectly dry and delicate with a fresh aroma.
So next time when you go for saffron shopping, make sure to buy pure by applying the above methods.