If you consume saffron during pregnancy, will that make your child fair?
Does saffron influence your child’s complexion?
Is it safe to consume kumkum flower during pregnancy?
Does saffron have any side effects?
Saffron has been a part of almost all civilizations known for its medicinal properties, usage in beauty treatment or as a flavoring agent. It is still one of the most expensive spices of the world and costs more than gold!
This spice was introduced to our country by the Persians, and oh aren’t we glad! This plant needs special climate conditions to grown and in India, saffron is grown in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Himachal Pradesh.
Saffron, kesara, keshar, zaffran, koung or kumkumapoovu – the names are many but in India, apart from cuisine, this exotic spice is used during the pregnancy phase.
Consuming saffron while pregnant is said to make your baby fair. How beneficial is it?
In today’s post, I will tell you about my experience of intake of saffron during pregnancy and whether it will help to ensure the fair complexion of the baby.
What is saffron?
Saffron is a spice that is obtained from the flower of Crocus Sativus. This is native to south European region. You must have thought why it looks like the way it does.
These flowers have 3 styles (the long, tube like portion attached to the ovary of the flower). These styles along with the stigmas attached (stigmas are the sticky part at the tip of the style where the pollen gets stuck) are removed from the flower. This is then dried and then sold as the saffron we know.
The chemical iodoform lends it its unique taste and flavor from picrocrocin and safranal. The wonderful color is courtesy of crocin, which is a carotenoid pigment.
Why is saffron so expensive?
Each flower has only 3 saffron threads and 14,000 saffron strands are required to form 1 pound!
Till date there is only manual way of separating the threads from the flowers. The harvesting of saffron threads is therefore a labor intensive process.
Both these reasons make saffron one of the most expensive spices of the world costing more than gold!
Intake of saffron during pregnancy:
In India, it’s a practice to take saffron milk during pregnancy.
I was also advised to have saffron milk daily. A lot of well-wishers told me what they believed about saffron.
Some scared me by saying that if this is not had during pregnancy, then my baby could be born dark skinned. In short, they made it sound like an important part of the pregnancy diet.
I wasn’t really convinced, how could a spice regulate my child’s skin color?
I knew it had the ability to improve our complexion, but what about an unborn child’s? So naturally, I voiced this concern and was met with a lot of raised eye brows.
I was also advised to listen to elders as they knew better. By the end of it, I was confused as ever. So I made up a note to find out about the truth behind this.
I wanted to know whether it had any benefits during the pregnancy phase and whether or not having it would affect my child’s complexion. I read up about it, quizzed my doctor and elders.
I have to say I found out that saffron was not just only about the flavor, color and of course the colour and complexion of your baby.
I am sure you have heard about how it can take dishes to a totally different level, but just to recap, let us take a look at how we can use this spice.
Culinary usage of saffron:
In India, saffron has been widely used in cooking.
Saffron is one important ingredients in the mouth-watering Hyderabadi Biryani. It is also used as a flavoring agent for a lot of Indian sweets.
You can also take a peek at the homemade almond powder in plain and chocolate flavor for kids.
Medicinal benefits of saffron:
Saffron contains folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B, copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, magnesium, thiamine and riboflavin. These bestow it with enough goodness to help us with our problems.
Saffron has been widely used all over the world for treatment of various diseases.The following are some of the medicinal benefits of saffron.
- Aids digestion
Consumption of saffron helps in digestion. It helps to reduce gas and acidity.
- Carminative action
It helps to suppress cramps. You can read more about the abdominal cramps during pregnancy.
- Cures respiratory illnesses
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to dilate the airways and reduce swelling and inflammation in the lungs. This makes breathing easier. This helps people suffering from asthma.
- Good for the heart
Saffron helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It helps to keep the blood vessels and arteries healthy and ensure proper blood flow.
- Treats sleep disorders
If you are feeling sleepless, then saffron will help you sleep. It aids in calming the nerves due to its sedative effects.
- Helps with period pains
Your period pains can be a thing of the past if you have some saffron milk. Saffron milk enhances pelvic blood flow and will take care of all your period discomforts like cramps, pain, acne, mood swings etc
- Cures depression
Saffron is a great anti-depressant too and helps to reduce mild to moderate depression.
- Cures cough and cold
Saffron is also used to cure cold and cough as it helps to reduce inflammation. It is also beneficial in bringing down the congestion.
- Improves memory
It helps to improve our memory and concentration.
Beauty benefits of saffron:
Saffron is used in a lot of leading brand beauty products because of its magical effects on the skin. Most fairness brands tell you that their product is the most effective owing to the saffron it.
When mixed with a face pack it helps regain the radiance and the glow of the face.
It helps in maintaining the texture of the skin and is great when used as a toner. You can mix it in some milk and apply it on your face with some cotton.
Due to the anti-oxidant properties of saffron, it will help to slow down the ageing process too. It is used in treatment of hair fall as well.
Benefits of saffron during pregnancy:
As I said before, we consume saffron during pregnancy as it believed to provide a lot of health benefits. It can cure a lot of discomforts that pregnancy brings along with it.
As mentioned earlier, saffron milk enhances pelvic blood flow which helps to relieve a lot of symptoms.
Pregnant women suffer from flatulence and bloating. These are common symptoms during pregnancy and you hear a lot of women complain about this.
But did you know that a glass of saffron milk can help with these problems? It is also known to improve the appetite.
Pregnant women also experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression and saffron can act as an anti-depressant here.
Restless sleep is one thing lot pregnant women complain about. The new body shape, the acidity, heartburn and the constant trips to the loo can make it difficult for you to sleep. Now you know that it tackles acidity and helps the digestive system. It will also help you sleep like a baby.
You can also read about the home remedies to keep heart burn at bay.
How to consume saffron?
The most common way to consume saffron is as saffron milk. You can take strands of saffron, add it to warm milk and drink it. The recommended amount is 2 to 3 strands per glass of milk.
If you cannot stomach the idea of drinking milk, you can also make add it to some soup or add it to warm water.
What to check for while buying saffron?
Saffron is a very expensive spice and like all things out there, even saffron is not free from adulterants.
There are a lot of varieties of saffron sold in the markets which claim to be pure but are just cheap and low quality stuff masquerading as superior grades.
Apart from the lack of purity, the type of adulterant used could also cause serious health issues. They will also not add any value and won’t give you any health benefits.
Unless and until you are an expert on the matter, the safest bet is not to buy any saffron that is sold loose. It should be sold with good quality packaging. The brand and government approval counts and so does the ISI mark.
Like any product, saffron too has an expiry date. So don’t forget to check the expiry date on the packet. Also check for any special instructions on the packet.
Side effects of saffron during pregnancy (if taken in excess):
Saffron is good for you, but in small quantities. Make sure you stick to this amount because otherwise you will end up putting yourself at risk.
The side effects of taking more of this spice are as follows.
- Causes contractions
If you take anything more than 10 grams, it will stimulate the uterus which will then cause contractions. This may cause premature labor.
- Nausea and vomiting
The other implications of having high doses of saffron are nausea and vomiting. As if pregnancy wasn’t already causing these.
- Impacts the appetite
Remember how I said it gives you a healthy appetite?
Well, too much of this can have an opposite effect on you and brings down your appetite.
Due to its sedative quality, a high dose can make you feel drowsy.
- Worsen heart conditions
It is heart healthy, only if you take the correct quantity. Or else it will misfire and cause some heart condition worse than they already are.
- Not good for people with bi-polar disorder
The ability of this spice to calm the nerves is the good part. But if you have bi-polar disorder then this is not for you.
So should you not have saffron during pregnancy?
You can, you definitely can, if you can follow instructions.
Pregnancy is not a time to take any risks with your health, so do not take more than 2 to 3 strands.
Always check with your doctor before you start using saffron. He or she will be able to tell you how and in what quantity you can have saffron based on your medical history.
Remember that our bodies are different and so what works some might not work for you.
So is the whole thing about saffron and ensuring fair complexion in babies true or false?
Yes it’s a myth.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the color of your baby’s skin is purely hereditary and determined by your genes. It has nothing to do with saffron or anything you eat or drink. So do not be fooled into consuming anything that will ‘enhance’ your baby’s color.
Truth be told our country has an obsession with fairness. So most of us consumed or are consuming saffron during pregnancy in the hope that it will make their child fair.
I have heard some moms saying that their baby isn’t fair because they did not have the right amount of saffron!
As a mom who doesn’t know all the facts, a real life experience like that could actually make you have more of the spice. This may cause complications in your pregnancy and you will end up wondering what went wrong.
But that doesn’t mean you should trash it completely.
Well the truth is saffron has a lot of medicinal benefits which can help you. The consumption of saffron during pregnancy is actually good because of its immense healing powers especially for the discomforts during pregnancy.
In the beginning of the article, I had promised you that I will tell you about my experience.
I had consumed saffron milk all throughout my pregnancy and my baby‘s skin colour is wheatish. Saffron did not, in any way, lead to that. That was the work of the genes. But it did help me ease the difficulties I faced as part of pregnancy.
My only advice is to choose a good reputed brand of saffron and have it in small quantities for its medicinal benefits. A lot doesn’t generally mean more results in this case.
Last but not the least,
Always follow the advice of your doctor. If he says no to anything, listen to him.
Hope this article on consumption of saffron during pregnancy was informative.
Now up to you.
Did you have saffron during pregnancy? How did it help you?
Were you also encouraged by the elders to consume saffron to have a fair baby?
Do share with me your experience.