This morning I cordially received an e-mail from Amazon.com to buy 5 grams of Saffron Loose Tea for $42.
Thanks, but no thanks.
I got my own authentic saffron from Mashhad, Iran, perfectly ground with sugar cubes as my mother taught me, which I use once or twice a week in my morning tea. This brings me to the topic that I have been meaning to write about for some time: the most expensive tea in the world—Saffron Tea.
Now I, like most Iranians, grew up in a culture where saffron is a common household name and spice. Perhaps this exquisite expensive spice, with its utmost delightful aroma is used every day in Persian cooking. So we are so used to using this spice, we take it for granted and never bother to ask the fundamental question of ‘what are the benefits of saffron anyway’?
Although I had been very familiar with using saffron in culinary practices, it wasn’t until recently that I was introduced to Saffron Tea. A friend showed me a tea bag that contained saffron, brought from Iran by a relative. It tasted great. So of course, given that I am into teas these days, I went on the internet and researched the benefits of this wonderful spice. Here is what I found:
Basically, saffron works like Prozac, a remedy for the blues. And it is more expensive than Prozac in some cases. In one study, one group was given saffron and the second group Prozac. They both improved equally in their depressive symptoms with the saffron group not having any side effects. (I heard once that saffron makes you laugh and there have been anecdotal accounts of people overdosing on the spice which actually caused their demise. So don’t overdo it!)
If you are Iranian and grew up in a household where saffron was used frequently—and you had a happier childhood than your non-Iranian comrades, now you know why. Of course, I am being sarcastic and over exaggerating the benefits of my new discovery, but I do recommend using saffron in your tea every once in a while whether or not you are feeling blue.
Today’s Healthy Living Tip: Instead of putting saffron in your regular black tea, you can try this recipe I learned recently while in Iran: boil some water and mix in a pinch of saffron, ground cardamon and sugar. Then let it cool in the fridge. Now you have a cold tasty saffron drink. Enjoy and say good-bye to the blues!
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