Saffron (Kesar) During Pregnancy: All That You Should Know

By Subodini Menon

Saffron, Kesar, Koung, Zafran and Kumkumapoovu are all the names of an aromatic spice that is priced for its smell, colour, flavour and medicinal value all over the world. Saffron is a spice that is obtained from the stigma of a flower. It is very hard to come by and harvest. Therefore, it is very expensive as well. There was a time when only the elite and the very well to do could get their hands on saffron. Today, saffron can be brought from your local herbal or ayurvedic shop; but it still comes with an expensive price tag.

In India, saffron is one of the most commonly used spices. It is used in sweets and desserts just as much as it is cooked into dishes that are savoury or call for meat. It is used for its immense medicinal value. Pregnancy is a time when people go out of their way to get some saffron for the mother-to-be's consumption. A pregnant woman is advised by everyone around her to make sure to drink milk that has saffron added to it. The lore has it that drinking milk boiled with saffron makes the baby's complexion very fair.

Today, we shall talk about everything you need to know about saffron as a pregnant mother. Can saffron help bare fair children? Is it safe to consume saffron? What are the benefits or side effects of consuming saffron? We shall try to answer all these questions and more. Read on to know more about saffron during pregnancy.

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What Is Saffron?

Before going on further, let us talk about what saffron is. Saffron is harvested from the Crocus sativus flower. It is the stigma of the flower that is dried and reaches you as saffron. Usually, only three strands of saffron can be obtained from one flower. The saffron is mostly handpicked. The intensive labour that goes into it also contributes to the prices. In India, saffron, or the king of spices, is produced in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

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What Are The Various Uses Of Saffron?

  • Saffron is used in cooking rich delicacies like biryani, pulao, meat curry, etc. It is also used to add flavour and colour to sweets like kheer and halwas.
  • It is used in beauty products.
  • It is believed that saffron lends its users beauty and youth. It has been a common ingredient in many commercially available beauty creams. It is also used in ayurvedic beauty products, Kumkumadi tailam being a popular example.
  • It is added to health products.
  • Saffron is priced for its medicinal value. It is added in medicines that claim to cure asthma, indigestion, infertility, baldness and cancer.
  • It reduces menstrual pain and PMS.
  • Saffron is claimed to help relieve menstrual cramps. It also is known to reduce or cure the symptoms of PMS.
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Is Saffron Capable Of Giving You A Fair Child?

There are researches which show that using saffron can improve the skin complexion and texture. But there are no researches which show that if used by the mother to be, the baby will be born with a fair complexion. For now, science considers a myth. But do not let this deter you from using saffron during pregnancy, as there are other benefits of using it while pregnant.

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Is It Safe To Consume Saffron During Pregnancy?

While saffron cannot guarantee you a fair child, it does have other nutritional value and health benefits. It can help with muscle pains and morning sickness that come with pregnancy. It also soothes your digestive system, enabling you to eat better. But care should be taken not to ingest more than a few strands of saffron every day.

Benefits Of Using Saffron During Pregnancy

Like mentioned above, saffron has a lot of benefits to offer if consumed during pregnancy.

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It Elevates Mood

Saffron helps manage the mood swings that are common when you are pregnant. Saffron helps the body relax and acts like an anti-depressant. It helps in releasing serotonin, which lifts the mood and helps you get past those gloomy times of your pregnancy.

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It Reduces Blood Pressure

High blood pressure during pregnancy can be risky and even fatal. Some saffron strands when consumed, helps in lowering the blood pressure.

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Helps In Proper Digestion

If you are troubled by gas, bloating and/or constipation, you need saffron in your diet. These problems only intensify during pregnancy. Using saffron helps in diverting more blood flow towards the digestive system.

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Saffron Cures Morning Sickness

Morning sickness takes all the joy out of the pregnancy. Saffron helps combat morning sickness and makes the pregnancy period more comfortable.

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Saffron Reduces Pain

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body of the pregnant woman. The expanding womb causes even the internal organs and bone structures to shift and adapt. All these lead to cramps and pain. Saffron acts as a painkiller and if taken during pregnancy, it helps in dealing with the pain of pregnancy.

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It Helps Your Heart

All the increased strain and pressure on the heart can eventually lead to heart diseases. The fact that pregnant women are fed with a diet rich in fats does not help. Consuming saffron will help in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your body.

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Saffron Helps Increase Iron Levels

Anaemia is a common problem seen in pregnant women. Iron is one of the most prescribed pills to a pregnant woman. Saffron is rich in iron and hence, it will help your haemoglobin levels go up during pregnancy.

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Reduces Hair Fall

Pregnant women often lose a lot of hair. They can even lose it in large clumps. This takes away a lot of confidence from the pregnant women. You can apply some saffron milk on the bald spots to encourage hair growth and to reduce further hair loss.

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Saffron Helps You Sleep Better

Saffron has a strong sedative effect. Growing belly and the various aches may cause you to have a bad sleep during the night. Drinking a little saffron milk at night can help you have a restful sleep.

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Saffron Helps Keep Skin Problems At Bay

All the hormones rushing through your body will cause you to have skin problems during the pregnancy. Melasma, also called the pregnancy mask, is a common complaint when pregnant. Women may also break out in pimples and zits. Saffron will help prevent these conditions.

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Saffron Helps Keep Allergies Away

Pregnancy causes a woman's immunity to go down. Consuming saffron helps improve the immunity and keep allergies away. It also helps prevent cold and other common afflictions away.

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Helps Balance The Electrolytes

Potassium is an important nutrient that everyone needs. The need increases during the pregnancy. Saffron contains a lot of potassium which helps in improving the condition of the kidneys by helping to maintain the electrolyte balance.

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Helps Maintain Oral Health

Pregnancy is a time when oral health goes for a toss. The various hormones can cause the gums to swell and hurt. Consuming a little saffron can help soothe the gums.

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Helps You Feel The Baby Movements

When it is time for the baby to move, you can try for some saffron milk. You will see that as soon as you consume the milk your baby will move. This is because saffron increases the core temperature of the body encouraging the baby to move.

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Side Effects Of Saffron

It can cause miscarriage

Saffron has substances in it that can lead to contractions. It raises the body's temperature and it can also lead in miscarriage. Talk to your doctor and then decide on taking saffron.

It can lead to hypersensitivity

Saffron is not good for all women. Some can be hypersensitive to it. In such women, saffron can cause dry mouth, headaches, nausea and anxiety.

It can cause vomiting

While saffron helps in preventing morning sickness, it can also cause vomiting in some women. Women can be aversive of the smell or flavour of saffron and it can cause them to vomit during pregnancy.

Other Possible Side Effects Can Be

Saffron can cause bleeding, blackouts, loss of balance, dizziness, numbness and jaundice.

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When Is The Best Time To Start Consuming Saffron?

Saffron can raise the body temperature and can cause contractions. Due to this, it is not advisable for mothers-to-be to consume it in the first trimester when the pregnancy is still not stable. It is best to take saffron after or during the fifth trimester. Always consult your doctor before starting to consume saffron. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, it is best to keep away from saffron.

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How Much Saffron Can You Consume?

Never consume more than 10 g of saffron at a time or in a day. If you take more than the recommended amount, it can affect the growth of the baby and can even be dangerous for your unborn baby.

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How To Take Saffron Correctly?

  • Saffron milk.
  • Boil a few strands of saffron with some milk. Drink it when warm.
  • Saffron with almonds and pistachios.
  • Two or three strands of saffron are to be added with some pistachios and almonds. Grind this together and boil it with milk. Add sugar as per your preference. You can drink this as a delicious drink either hot or chilled.
  • Use it to flavour soups and curries.
  • You can add a couple of strands of saffron to your food. Soups and spicy curries are best for the addition of saffron in them.
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    Read more about: pregnancy prenatal saffron
    Story first published: Monday, December 11, 2017, 11:45 [IST]
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