Saffron Origins

Around the world, Saffron is known as...

 

saffron, saffraan, zafferano, sahrami, krókos, azafrán, Safran, açafrão, サフラン, 藏红花, 사프란, זאַפרען, šafrán, Szafran, জাফরান, sáfrány, żagħfran, croci, safrāns, šafranas, шафран, kunyit, shafran, zəfəran, safrà, الزعفران

The history of Saffron is ancient and just as colorful as the threads itself...

A mysterious beginning...

Saffron is obtained from the Crocus Sativus flower that does not exist in the wild. 

 

Crocus Sativus is a sterile flower as they fail to produce viable seeds for natural reproduction. Therefore, the cultivation hinges purely on human intervention and only blooms for about a week once a year, which is why genuine saffron is worthy of its price tag.  

 

Crocus Sativus, commonly known as Saffron Crocus, or Autumn Crocus blooms in fall and is the only flower that produces Saffron.  

Modern-day Afghanistan has been cultivating Saffron for at least the last 2,000 years but Saffron uses have been documented over the past 3,500 years.   

Debates have been had as to whether Crocus Sativus originated from ancient Greece or ancient Persia. 

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Ancient consumptions

Egyptian healers used Saffron as a treatment for all varieties of gastrointestinal ailments. 

 

During Cleopatra’s reign between 51- 30 BC she was reported to welcome the use of Saffron in her baths and before encounters with men, believing that the Saffron would make lovemaking more pleasurable. 

Alexander the Great and his forces were big advocates for the use of Saffron. Alexander himself sprinkled Saffron in warm baths in the hope that it would heal his many wounds from battle. His faith in Saffron grew with each treatment and not long his army followed in his footsteps. 

 

Saffron was a common source of yellow dye throughout Roman times. 

 

As well as food and dye, in China Saffron was used to aromatize wine and give offerings to the Buddha. 

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Ancient ruins

Saffron has been depicted in precious artwork dating back to the Bronze Age.

This illustration from the “Saffron Gatherers” fresco of the “Xeste 3” building was unearthed at the settlement of Akrotiri, on the Aegean island of Santorini. 

Ancient texts 

Saffron is mentioned in the ancient Chinese medical text Shennong Ben Cao Jing believed to be from the 3rd century AD 

Even the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh Song of Solomon pays tribute to Saffron’s special aroma

"Your lips drop sweetness like honeycomb, my bride, syrup and milk are under your tongue, and your dress had the scent of Lebanon. Your cheeks are an orchard of pomegranates, an orchard full of rare fruits, spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon."

- Song of Solomon

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