Written by Chris Claussen, Co-Founder, Chief Innovation Officer
About the Author: Chris has over 20 years of experience in product and business development. For the past five years he has focused exclusively on innovative product development in the functional foods and functional mushrooms space. Chris brings experience exploring, experimenting, and conducting extensive research on the relationship between functional foods/ mushrooms and metabolic, brain, and mental health.
Saffron, often hailed as the world's most expensive spice, consists of the tiny threads, or stigmas, hand-harvested from the heart of the Crocus sativus flower. Remarkably, it requires the collection of these stigmas from approximately 75,000 saffron flowers to produce a single pound of saffron powder. This precious spice has been cherished for centuries, not only for its distinctive flavor and vibrant color but also for its intriguing functional benefits, particularly its connection to brain health.
Here is a brief overview of the functional benefits of saffron and its connection to brain health*:
- Antioxidant Properties: Saffron is rich in bioactive compounds, including crocin, crocetin, and safranal, which have strong antioxidant properties.
- Mood Enhancement: Saffron has been traditionally used as an herbal remedy to alleviate mood disorders. It is believed to modulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing symptoms of mood disorders.
- Cognitive Function: Some studies suggest that saffron may enhance cognitive function and memory. It is thought to improve learning and memory retention by promoting the growth of nerve cells and enhancing their function.
- Neuroprotection: Saffron's bioactive compounds may have neuroprotective effects by reducing inflammation and preventing damage to nerve cells. This may be beneficial in slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative conditions.
- Aphrodisiac Effects: Saffron has been historically linked to enhancing libido and sexual function, which can have a positive impact on overall mental well-being and quality of life.
- Stress Reduction: Saffron may help reduce stress and improve overall mental resilience. This effect is thought to be linked to its ability to modulate stress hormones and promote relaxation.
- Better Sleep: Saffron may aid in improving sleep quality. Better sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy brain and cognitive function.
At First Person, we carefully select our saffron from Spain, where it is responsibly and sustainably harvested. The saffron featured in our Golden Hour product, is affron®, which is supported by nine published human clinical studies demonstrating its efficacy in enhancing mood during stressful situations and promoting better sleep quality, as demonstrated here.*