Wonderful Saffron for Beautiful Skin

Features Issue 185 Apr, 2017

Saffron is considered the ideal Tridoshhara: that means it is useful in pacifying all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).

Keshar– Saffron(Crocus sativus)has been,since ancient times, used to achieve healthy and beautiful skin. In the olden days, its use was limited to the royals and the aristocrats as it was rare, and therefore,very expensive. These days, even though it is still relatively expensive, it is available to the larger populace. Saffron has references in the oldest Ayurvedic texts Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita (approx. 500 B.C.) as Varnya herb, describing its use to prevent and cure skin problems, its cleansing properties, and its general use to get healthy and beautiful skin. Saffron-extracts and saffron oil contain antioxidants that help prevent premature aging of the skin,anti-bacterial properties that are useful in treating skin disorders, and anti allergen properties that are useful in protecting the skin from sunburn. As such, saffron-extract is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic cosmetics and skin care products.

Saffron is considered the ideal Tridoshhara: that means it is useful in pacifying all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).There are many ways we can use saffron at home that will help us achieve beautiful skin. It can be used both externally or internally; however, be cautious when using it internally. Saffron is a potent herb, so it should not be used in excess. Do not use more than five strands at a time.

Below are some do-it-yourself tips:
Do not use saffron directly while making face packs or cleansers; you need to extract that yellow-golden color first. Soak five strands of saffron in two tablespoons of warm water or warm milk for about thirty minutes, then stir it. The mixture should have a beautiful golden yellow color. This mixture energizes the dermal blood vessels, which helps in growth of healthy and glowing skin.

1. Mix saffron with heavy cream and use as face mask. It helps to moisturize dry skin. Mix 2-3 drops of saffron milk mixture in your night cream and put it on your face. Then, give yourself a 5-minute face massage before bed.

2. Make face pack by mixing saffron, sandalwood powder, and yellow mustard powder with water, milk, or heavy cream. This helps in cleansing acne.

3.The decoction of saffron makes a very good cooling eye wash. Soak saffron with distilled rose water for 30 minutes. Boil the mixture with 5 cups of water until half the water evaporates. Let it cool overnight. Use it as eyewash every morning. This decoction can be stored up to 5 days in a refrigerator. 

4. Use same decoction as facial mist. All you need is a little spray bottle. You can carry the mixture with you and spray on your face every 4-5 hours. It totally refreshes the skin.

Below are some recipes that use saffron; these satisfy both your taste buds and your skin.

Breakfast porridge
Serves 2
Time: 10 minutes

•    5-8 strands saffron
•    1 cup semolina (sooji)
•    3 cups hot water
•    1 cup boiled milk
•    4-6 coarsely crushed almonds
•    ¼ cup raisins
•    1 tablespoon organic brown sugar or jaggery
•    ½ teaspoon ghee

•    Mix saffron with 2 tablespoons of milk and set aside.
•    Mix water with milk and let it boil.
•    In a skillet, add ghee. Sautee raisins, semolina, and crushed almonds for about 2 minutes, then add sugar, water, and milk; let it cook for 5 minutes.
•    Add the saffron and stir well. 
•    This porridge is healthy and hearty, and most of all, your skin will love it. Apart from saffron, milk and almonds are also very good for skin. During mango season, garnish the porridge with slices of mangoes. Yum…..

Simple Dessert: Strained Yogurt with Saffron
Serves 2

•    2 cups yogurt
•    1 tablespoon saffron milk mixture
•    2 tablespoons sugar
•    ¼ teaspoon cardamom and cinnamon powder
•    ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder

•    Strain the water out of the yogurt using a muslin cloth.
•    Pour the yogurt in a bowl and whisk really well until it looks creamy. 
•    Add sugar, cardamom, cinnamon powder, and black pepper, and mix well.
•    Add the saffron at the end and stir. 
•    Delicious dessert is ready to be served

Note: According to Ayurveda, yogurt should not be taken at night because it is too heavy to digest. So, enjoy it in the afternoon for better results.